Our quiet time
“Where is everybody? ‘’ We overheard this question last week as a local resident remarked that it seemed to be quiet everywhere – precious few pedestrians on the sidewalks, empty parking lots and not many shoppers in the few stores open this time of the year. There aren’t as many cars on the road, especially since the Gardens Aglow winter festivities ended in Boothbay, which attracted thousands of nightly visitors from the peninsula and those traveling down Route 27 from Route One to view this lighting spectacular.
One good explanation for the area’s empty feeling, of course, if you’re talking about the past two or three weeks in particular, would be the unseasonably low temperatures. We’re all used to the dip in the thermometer this time of the year, but not the zero and below zero temperatures of late. Throw a nasty snowstorm into the mix, and it hasn’t been fit weather for man or beast. It’s understandable that most folks had no interest in venturing out, choosing instead to remain indoors. Unfortunately, some folks were even shivering in their homes because they ran out of fuel due to furnaces running around the clock trying to maintain the temperature. Some fuel companies found themselves short, too, and limited the amount of fuel they delivered in order to stretch available supplies as well as they could until the crisis was over.
Even Hannaford and Shaw’s are far less crowded this time of the year, except a day or two before a storm is due to hit, when you’d swear it’s Fourth of July weekend. We all know where many of our friends and neighbors are this time of the year – in warmer climes. Some folks head south right after the Thanksgiving holiday while others prefer to be in Maine for Christmas. By mid-January, however, few snowbirds remain in the northeast.
Skiers, skaters, snowboard enthusiasts, ice fishermen and others look forward with enthusiasm to this time of the year. They are probably the true Mainers while those of us who lay claim to being natives are content to appreciate the beauty of winter by looking out the window. In our own case our major social events are high school basketball games in a warm gym, which is where we routinely meet lots of our friends and neighbors.
Believe it or not, lots of residents not only tolerate, but actually appreciate, this slow season when that small-town feeling prevails. It’s a time when they can catch their breath, relax, and get ready for the busier months ahead which will be here before we know it. After all, the days are once again getting longer, minute by minute. Some Mainers maintain that come February, you can feel the added warmth in the sun. It’s only two weeks away!