Spring snow melts,

thick-soled winter boots

and ice-crusted mittens drip

in front of a roaring woodstove.

Muddy wheel ruts dry, cracking

in the warm sunshine.

Swarms of blackflies arrive

in tandem with tree frogs who

begin to sing in stereo at dusk.

Gardens planted early

promise bushels of produce,

defying an inevitable late frost

predicting a short summer

growing season in Maine.

Summer arrives to sit at

picnic tables at backyard BBQ’s,

Swan Island Downeast Lobster-Paluzzas,

trips northward “upta” camp,

deep-sea fishing excursions,

river kayaking, whitewater rafting

on rocky, crystal clear rushing streams,

ski jetting at the lake or saltwater

sailing, yachting, water skiing

and swimming at the beach.

Fourth of July family celebrations

produce hours of colorful

bursts of fireworks high

into the hot summer night.

Labor Day holiday sends tourists

hastily heading southward,

bidding farewell to

Miles the Moose and

D. Claude Lobster

as they pass through the Kittery toll booth,

en route to the metropolitan

chaos they call home.

The dark, damp walls

of blue-black melancholy

begin to set in, as real as

meteorologists predictions

of an early frost.

Today’s sunrise announces

the showy debut of colorful leaves

as the curtain of fog rises

on the first crisp morning

of another fall season in Maine.

Hardy tourists linger for

the perfect snapshot, framed

for their desk back at the office

on the 21st floor in the city.

Bright yellow school buses

round up chatting children

dressed in trendy school duds

new to them, from older sisters

and brothers hand-me-downs.

Students nervously wait until dawn

in rural driveways dotting

the Maine countryside.

Freshly painted classrooms, and

shiny polished floors reflect

images of anxious children

thundering through hallways,

en route to the first classes of fall.

Distracted by thoughts

of cotton candy or fried dough

sprinkled with powdered sugar,

consumed while walking past

fair ‘barkers’ and ring toss games

at traditional county fairs across the state.

Preoccupied with thoughts of oxen

straining in a dusty pulling ring,

dreaming of blue ribbon

prized pigs, giant pumpkins,

penny scrambles or this years’

fair queen contest, each student

attempts to be attentive

during the first weeks of history,

algebra or English classes.

Visitors ‘from away’ can hardly envision

how swiftly seasons pass in Maine

before the first pristine,

intricate snowflake designs

cover doorsteps, prompting

silver Yankee shovels

to dip and lift, dip and lift

load after load of the heavy white stuff.

Darkness falls quickly,

shorter days dictate residents

condense workdays, inviting snowplows

to clear roads for safe travel long into the night.

Residents maximize efforts

to accomplish necessary daily tasks.

Winter has arrived in Maine.

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