My two winters

Waves breaking into the bay
Wind at Scraggane Waves breaking into the bay

The winter in Maine is bitter, exhausting and endless. I don’t miss having to keep every inch of skin covered for fear of frostbite or shoveling five feet of snow twice a day to get out the door. I don’t miss parking bans and brown slush in March. I am dreading getting used to six months of cold again and all the gear and equipment required to survive it, but I will not miss the wind in the Maharees. It blows for weeks at a time and blows consistently at 80 km/hour with gusts over 100 regularly. This isn’t a storm; life goes on as normal. We don’t lose power very often and there isn’t much damage to property because of the landscape but the wind has a powerful effect on the people in a similar way to in Maine. Many summer people or ‘tourists’ with holiday homes intend to stay year round or retire here but the common refrain is “Let’s see how they like it in February” or “We’ll see if they last the winter.” – In many cases they don’t. It’s hard to capture the wind’s strength in a picture or video so I tried to describe its effect in words.

The wind, the wind, the wind
The relentless battering, shaking, creaking, banging, scraping, howling and screeching makes my feet itch by January.
“It ‘s a southerly, no it’s a northerly which is worse, oh wait south westerly is worse again, what direction is it now?“
The children thrash around at night muttering and calling out from their beds.
“That wind would cut right through you.”
The horses spook in their fields and anxiety builds around the roads as the puddles deepen and the waves break closer.
“When is high tide? Tides up now, tides filling, tide is out, they’ll be a good strand on Saturday.”
Sand stings your face while you scurry from the car to pick your beer cans, paper towel tubes and newspapers out of the hedge and right that recycling bin again.
“Bet its wild down your way.”
The car door whips open and wrenches backwards if you are too slow to grab the handle
“Any damage last night?”
Cold air sneaks through the keyholes and whirls around in the chimney
“I was waiting for the shingles to go last night. Didn’t get a wink.”
The palm trees bend and the grass ripples like a green pond
“You’d know winter was here.”