The Winter Desert

Last weekend, Sean and I traveled northwest for my grandfather‘s funeral. We stayed at the Guilford Bed and Breakfast with my sister and brother-in-law. The owners of the B&B are friends of ours from before we built our house up there, and it was wonderful to see them both. The service was a lovely, memory-filled celebration of my grandfather’s life, and spending time with our extended family seemed an excellent way to say goodbye to him.

The tracks of an odd animal in the snow by the Forge (my mother's snowshoe tracks).

The tracks of an odd animal in the snow by the Forge (my mother’s snowshoe tracks).

I enjoyed our time in Guilford in spite of the occasion; seeing my family and our friends never fails to cheer me up, particularly since I don’t see too many people during the week.

I found that when we came home, I was disappointed and bored with Old Town. This is something I have been feeling ever since Sean and I returned from Arizona, and while it motivates me to work hard so that we start thinking about moving there, it is also not healthy and is entirely against my self-view. I like to be happy where I am. How else will I survive being here for another two years? And while Orono will be a grand improvement on Old Town in June, I can’t help but wonder if I will cheer up as much as I expect to.

These thoughts were in my mind as I headed to the rec center last night after work to blow off some steam. Looking forward to a trot on the track, I heaved open the door and found the lobby entirely filled with people wearing animal suits. Come to think of it, they were probably gearing up to do a Harlem Shake video, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. I beat my way through the crowd to the women’s locker room only to find that it, too, was overrun with people with nary a locker in sight. As I tend to be paranoid about people running off with my stuff, and since my one glance at the track had revealed a crowd of people walking, I paused. Frustration overrode my contemplations and I barreled back through the crowd of people, now including Pikachu and our mascot, Bananas.

Sean had the car, the bus wasn’t coming for another 45 minutes, and it was about 15 degrees with wind chill, so my logical decision was to zip my coat up to my chin, tighten up my backpack straps, and walk the three miles home on the (plowed) bike path.

It turned out to be an excellent decision.

The Orono Desert

The Orono Desert

Although I froze and managed to give myself a nasty cold rash, every step was worth it. My love of Maine comes from my love of the outdoors, and often that love is confined to the summer months, when I can hike, climb, swim, etc. without thinking twice. Last winter, we never even had negative temperatures, and Sean and I were hiking well into January and climbing again in March. This winter, with the blizzards and the -20 windchill, I have forgotten what it is to get outside, breathe the fresh air, and feel the edge of warmth on my face from the sun nestled in its low spot along the horizon.

As I walked by my favorite field, I looked to my right only to see Water Sprinkler walking along next to me. He had his characteristic humpback, and his long legs and flute stretched into shadow, gliding along with my steps. Although it was only my backpack-toting shadow and a trick of the eyes, I was comforted. Water Sprinkler may bring the snow, but he also brings the spring rains. Winter will not last forever. But, while it’s here, I may as well enjoy it.

Flowers I bought myself to bring a breath of spring to the house...turns out carnations are on the top 10 most poisonous things to cats, so they're at Sean's now.

Flowers I bought myself to bring a breath of spring to the house…turns out carnations are on the top 10 most poisonous things to cats, so they’re at Sean’s now.


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