Could it be that winter has finally relinquished its bitter hold?
The thought presents a number of conflicting emotions in me, but change always blows straight into the face of time, and so it is, with the passing of seasons, as spring approaches.
As if on cue, the ever-restless winds of March have assailed the coast of Maine, and in the process, the sturdy drafts have carried upon their shoulders heavy doses of rain and warmer air temperatures that have all but washed away the last remaining vestiges of winter about the terrain.
Such a sudden transition, though necessary to usher in the green blossoms of spring, is anything but pretty. The once thick snow-pack has rapidly disappeared, and in its wake, we have found ourselves saying goodbye to winter and hello to the “mud season” in a single breath.
With the trees still bare, the grass still brown – and sticky mud oozing with water on the paths we tread upon, I have found myself gazing seaward of late in search of scenes that bring joy to the senses as winter yields to spring.
No matter the season, one can always count on the splendor of sunset to offer up a picture-perfect canvas of color, even when the landscape is in a drab mood, moping in its puddles.
While seeking to admire dusk’s show of pastels in the sky, I also noticed that with the blanket of white’s disappearance, one could once again view the full spectrum of tradition that speaks to the pride of our region’s working harbors.
No longer are stacked lobster traps, clusters of colored buoys and other appendages of the lobster and fishing trade burdened by the grip of snow and ice along the wharves.
Even the lobster boats themselves find their windshields free of the icy glaze that was permitted to squat upon the surface while Jack Frost enjoyed an extended stay.
As for the beauty of the March sunsets, the experiences at dusk have not disappointed, even though collaborative factors, like friendly clouds that reflect the sun’s smile and grandeur across the sky, have been scarce of late.
In some ways, if there is such a term, you might say the setting sun and its stage on the western horizon, has been “normal” or tempered in its dashing brilliance over the past couple of weeks.
Even when the sea is agitated and dark cloudbanks have taken up residence along the point where water and clouds seemingly touch, the sun has resisted dousing the billowing vapor with its radiance.
A couple evenings ago, as my wife Ann, our three children and I patiently waited for the sun to slip behind the silhouette of islands off Marshall Point near Port Clyde, an unsettled sea grappled for our attention.
There was a mist holding court over the water in the distance and a stiff southwest breeze intent on delivering a good swell to shore.
Upon reaching the rocky edge, the swells mustered one last moment of energy as they rushed the tidal area in what seemed like a frothy anger before retreating once again. I marveled to myself that their “bark was stronger than their bite,” especially against the immovable ledges that the staggered sets encroached upon.
All the while, a touch of winter was still clinging to the air, which spawned wind chills around the freezing mark by dusk. The “real feel” of the air eventually coaxed the kids to seek the comfort of the car not long after the sun bid us adieu.
In the end, the sunset ended up being, well – “normal” once again, having its emitting radiance somewhat diffused by a looming cloud bank that lacked a jovial personality. The scene was contenting to observe nonetheless, but I walked away from the moment with something more.
As I contemplated another “normal” seaside experience, I reminded myself of the beauty found in this type of natural simplicity.
In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, we are inundated by drama and hype – and the perceived need of both to vie for our attention or to make things more interesting in our lives.
Lost in this “sea” of heightened emotion is the notion of normalcy, which provides a sense of place and keeps us well-rooted in the everyday aspects of life that matter most and sweeten in memory with the passage of time.
Normalcy is one of life’s elusive secrets, but when found and appreciated, offers a wealth of contentment for the heart and mind. May we all enjoy healthy doses of normalcy here and there, and remember to bask in its simple beauty!