Opinion

Spring in Central Maine? It’s wonderful

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Three days ago sunny, low 60-degree weather melted the last of the thick layer of ice covering Camp Marlene pond all winter. Migratory ducks — mergansers, golden eye, wood ducks, and mallards — were back scouring shallow shoreline water for water vegetation, insects, and fry.

The loons followed with their playlist of hoots, cries, and laments bouncing across the fresh water, against surrounding woodlands, and echoing back again.

Two neighbors wearing life vests paddled by in their green Old Town canoe. The first voyage over water still dangerously cold if they happened to fall in.

It’s springtime in Maine. With my cross country skis, snow shoes, and boot mini-spikes away now I am very much looking forward to my favorite — albeit too brief — Maine season. Some of our garden perennials already have green shoots reaching for the sunny blue sky from the dark brown soil of our two gardens.

Starting the third week in May I will once again, wearing my dive mask and snorkel, swim along the bottom of Camp Marlene pond in search of unique rocks, additions to the rocks of many colors that already form the low garden walls.

I find old bottles too. Some very old, made of thick glass embossed with the names of long gone Maine bottling companies. Camp Marlene’s pond water is quite clear, although over the last few years I’ve recovered from it golf balls, tin children’s toys, an old padlock, a ceramic salad bowl, beer and soda cans — even lost anchors.

A pile of boulders, it’s peak about one foot below the water, is a remnant from an old amusement park slide. It’s a great place to swim among bass, the occasional snapping turtle, and crayfish — and just watch them as they watch me.

With the snow gone for awhile I am able, once again, to uncover the history inevitably found in most old cemeteries. A few years ago, for example, I began taking photos of headstones of veterans of the American Revolution, adding the photos and grave locations to a Facebook photo album I created for that purpose.

Driving down a rural road last week I spotted a small cemetery with three American Revolution soldiers graves — including Major William True. His headstone identifies Major True as “A Soldier of the Revolution.” I am reminded that, were it not for the work and sacrifice of each American Revolution patriot, my life, and the lives of everyone I know and love, would be dramatically different. Certainly ours would be a life devoid of the freedoms we still enjoy. Maybe my Facebook photo album will cause at least one person ignorant of the American Revolution to look deeper, to gain a new understanding, appreciation, and love of our beautiful, hard won legacy.

Maine winters have their own charm, their own colors: mostly whites, blues, dark evergreen, grays, browns. But Maine springs are landscapes of countless vibrant colors found everywhere. In birds, flowers, insects, sunrises and sunsets, tree blossoms.

Coastal Maine, I think Downeast especially, is spectacular. But for Maine residents and visitors who haven’t spent much time, if any, exploring inland Maine in springtime — do it. You will swear in some inland spots that time has stood still. Other areas you can see the history preserved within communities also excited about moving to the future. There is always something good to do, to learn.

Perhaps we’ll cross paths next time I’m out exploring winding roads to new Maine places. Maybe at an ice cream shack, a mud supper, a Little League ballgame, an outdoor music concert, a museum, hiking a woods trail, or simply reading a book outdoors on a sunny day. Springtime is a great time to be in central Maine.

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections until 2015. He is now using his communications skills to serve clients in the private sector.

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