Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Yesterday I stepped out into the early morning pre-dawn that was blanketed by a heavy snowfall and inhaled the air. It smelled like watermelon. Why, I have no idea but I am sure an Alton Brown of the meteorologist world could explain it to me. The air was crisp. Bright almost like discovering a new scent but it had tinges of watermelon. I didn't try to figure it out, I just walked in it. Cold air. Intoxicating actually. As was the air this morning at that same hour except this morning the scent was toasted marshmallows, the ones that burn faster than you'd like hanging but still destined for greatness, and cedar planks, that heady scent of fireplace smoke from a nearby chimney.

I think I am beginning to own Maine, having felt like a visitor and not knowing if we were goign to stay. All of this very foreign to my 28 years of Sonorna desert life. The snow is something I missed in Phoenix, driving 3 hours north to romp at the base of the San Francisco peaks in Flagstaff amidst the Aspen. Growing up in Upstate New York and shoveling what looked like Olympic luge runs where the sidewalk was supposed to be prepared me for the snow of Maine. It didn't take me too long to remember how to use a shovel and chip away at ice on a side mirror. But I had forgotten the smell of snow, really the smell of winter air. All those years in the desert I hung on to a memory of a January evening in Santa Fe, under a very clear sky with enough stars to merit a planetarium. I had found a cafe near the Plaza, a cup of hot chocolate laced with cinnamon and a touch of chile if I remember correctly or maybe that was a chocolate chile torte from a close-my-eyes-and-remember-this forever food moment. A topic for another day. But this night in Santa Fe, I remember the air. Pinon. Smoky, burning, fill the nostrils until dizzy, do I have to go back inside, Pinon. And snow.

So I am savoring this Maine winter. It seems less wet, less soaked, less iced than last year, or maybe that mess is coming in February. or maybe, just maybe, I have decided to stay for a while and walk alongside these Mainers and relish the landscape, the austere, the community, the simplicity, the seasons, the winter and the snow of Maine.

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