Thursday, October 25, 2012

Here we are approaching the end of October, and the end of the hurricane season, and I heard today there is threatening weather in the Atlantic which may impact us early next week.   I guess the weather gods did not get the message about November 1 closing the window on hurricanes.

The leaves are mostly down, the sky is brillian blue today.  As I drove along Commerce Drive on my way home today, I noticed the oaks still have those dry brown hangers-on.   They will be the last to fall, and will plague us maybe even after the first snowfall.  And maybe will still be there, soggy, slippery and ugly come spring when the snow melts.  But I think before the days when we raked so conscientiously (incidentally, I don't have to rake, the Ground Crew does it for me and my fellow Creekers) the dry leaves nurtured the ground they lay on.

As I drove out of Stoney Creek, onto Commerce Drive, earlier this week three lovely young does crossed in front of me from the pond side into the rather sparse woods between us and the Maine Veterans' Home.   And on coming car missed what I meant for a signal to slow down, and very nearly had venison for supper.   And a badly damaged car.    That's the second threesom of deer I have seen in the last few weeks.  BUT - today as I turned into my driveway I saw two full grown gray foxes crossing Stoney Creek Road.  I have heard they are around.   They are fully furred, very pretty (although not as colorful as the red fox which rests in the sun behind #1), and very healthy looking.   I am not afraid of them having rabies, the raccoons worry me more and we have plenty of them also. 

 NOw why would they be so close to a "colony of 30 condos" ?  The burgeoning building in Scarborough is taking out the woods and the town deems it necessary to make every open field into a ball park.  More clearing and more building is taking place as I write.  And much more is to come.    Scarborough needs to start thinking "up" now low and sprawling.

I am going on a three day hiatus to connect to more music enthusiasts, but before I go I need to do a number of things.  Shorten a pair of pants, decorate a pair of old shoes with frilly pink yarn (to wear instead of slippers for "pajama party" night, and maybe dash of a bit of a music blog about Steve Lawrence.   I'm feeling pretty positive about gettingit all done, and if I remember to pack my shoe horn and music glasses, I'll be all set.

Meanwhile, I'll take a few minutes to look up from my patio at the moon because tonight is clear and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.  And if I am out this afternoon again, I'll look up to see if the red tailed hawk that circles over head nearly every day is still up there enjoying the up-drafts.   It's a good day to be me in Maine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Rare Event

There is a song which as words something like " it an earthquake or is it at last love?...."  Well, it was an earthquake.   And I remember a few of them in Maine where they are relatively rare, but I never experienced one like last night's.

My dog had come in from his nightly business mission and should have been settling down.  He began pacing and looking at me expectantly and my response was, "Go lie down, you just came in."   Yes, I do talk to my dog. And I did say to him as he was looking at me, "I wish I knew what you are thinking."   Shortly the house began to shake as though a train had derailed (the tracks are only about a mile south as the crow flies), or a plane crash (the air port is about three miles to the north) -  and then the room  became a Disney attraction, shaking  in all directions.  AND THEN BOOM!  and explosion of epic proportions followed by a diminishing of the trembling.
The dog looked at me one more time and I am sure he was saying "I told you so!".

Every week there is an "Emergency Management Alert"  test on televison which interrupts programming.  Each time there is a severe storm in New Hampshire to our west, or in the northern part of Maine which is miles away, the raucous claxon pierces our ears and the red banner streaks across the screen with the printed warning while a robot issues a statement.  SO, WHERE WAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT LAST NIGHT?   Couldn't they have come on to let people know this was an earthquake which registered on the Richter Scale at 4.0, and had a scope of several hundred square miles?   What good are they if they are not on top of what's happening in real time? 

Well, it's a lovely day today.  If there have been after shocks, I haven't been aware of them.  After a lot of rain and a couple of heavy frosts the plants are ready to be prepared for winter.  I will find my clippers and gloves and do the job over the next few days which are predicted to be good.

I had hoped to make a trip into the middle of the state this fall but the rainy weather dampened my enthusiasm.   Maybe next year.

"October gave a party,
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."

"October's Party" - George Cooper

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Like Falling Leaves

The descent into Fall has been swift, like the leaves when they leave their trees.  Some 65 years ago we were so dry and hot half of Maine burned; little local fires which became huge conflagrations that wiped out whole communities.   Bar Harbor's seaside mansions owned by industrial and fnancial magnates burned as quickly and efficiently as the little hundred year old farms in the western part of the state.  And my families own modest but comfortable and much loved seaside cottage in Goose Rocks Beach.   Colorful hardwood foliage, some dry and fallen, some still glorious in gold and orange clinging to their branches, and deep green conifers thirsting for water needed to keep them alive through winter - all burned with ferocious intensity of color and heat.  Acrid smoke drifted where the fire did not.

 As I looked out my bedroom window from the cottage where we were still enjoying the last of good weather, I saw the balls of fire "topping off" over the tall pines of Crow Hill in Cape Porpoise and heard the screams of the fire engines as they raced here and there trying to find places where they might  - just might - be able to stop it.   My father said "Go to bed.    There's a whole marsh between us that the  ocean keeps wet every 12 hours.  The fire won't cross that."   How wrong he was - not often - but never more so than that night.   We left that morning and by afternoon the our cottage and five others on that remote end of the beach on the edge of Batson's river was gone.

Well, we have had rain enough to  keep the conifers healthy for winter.
The rocks along the roadside are weeping; the foliage which should be peaking in glorious crisp orange and yellow and rust and pale green is hanging limp and soggy, sad in the air which is also soggy and limp. 

Turn on the furnace in early October?   Unless you want to mold, you had better.   Hunger for hot soup for supper?  Absolutely.  My grandson made me a large batch of Borscht; I revel in it's satisfying red warmth.  Pack up the summer weight pants and shirts; put away the patio furniture; plant a few extra bulbs if you dare work in your soggy yard; hope for at least one really nice dry sunny day before snow-fall so you can clip back the roses and cover them, trim the butterfly bush and do one last round of weed-pulling to discourage them from coming back in April.  

Maine is an interesting state which cannot be counted on from one year to the next for consistency.  It;'s consistency is inconsistent, at best.