The old adage is true: the best things in life are free. And the best things in life are usually the simplest things. There are a lot of those simple things to be found right here in our great state. Springtime in Maine – otherwise known as mud season – offers up several conflicting examples of what makes our state so unique, beloved, and enigmatic. The frigid nights, the balmy days, the tempest-like winds, the mild breezes… We get it all in mud season, and it can become tiresome to be so close to warmer temperatures and still so far from the frustrations and inconveniences of winter.
If you’re feeling the effects of this very Maine-like spring (which is to say, a season all over the place in terms of weather), it may help you to remember these 10 reasons we choose to live, work, and play in Maine.
1.) Trees. So many trees. With over 17 million acres of forestland, Maine is the most heavily forested state in the country. 12 million of those acres are located in the northern half of the state – that is to say, for my Southern-Maine readers, anywhere north of Bangor (yes, there is more state after Bangor – much, much more).
2.) Whoopie pies. Need I say more?
3.) Which state boasts one of the most popular and beloved authors of our time? Oh, that’s right. Maine can proudly claim Stephen King as our own. We can also brag of our state’s ties to literary powerhouses such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and E. B. White.
4.) World-renowned coastal landscapes, seaside towns, and lighthouses.
5.) Be it a lakeside camp, a cabin in the mountains, a farmhouse among rolling meadows and rivers, or a cottage by the sea, you are bound to find here in Maine some geographic location that brings you peace, joy, and the sense that you have come home.
6.) Maine has the unique advantage of experiencing all four seasons – sometimes all in one day! From the bloom of yellow daffodils in spring to the hazy, humid, endless July afternoons to autumn’s vibrant explosion of crimson and gold foliage to the snowy, frigid, star-pieced winter nights, Mainers see it all. And even though we may complain about the various, multifaceted challenges each season brings, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
7.) Patrick Dempsey. Need I say more?
8.) With ample opportunities across the state for hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, running, walking, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, sailing, hunting, and fishing, what outdoor enthusiast could find a better landscape in which to live and play?
9.) Sure, some of the stereotypes are true. We tend to wear flannel and plaid, and more than a few of us are keen on Allen’s Coffee Brandy, and that Mainah accent is not just the stuff of myth. But Mainers are more than clichés. We are a sturdy bunch, of solid, good-natured, friendly, genuine, and humorous stock. And though people from away may think our state only employs lobstermen and lumberjacks, the truth is that Maine has also given the world artists, writers, scientists, chefs, actors, humorists, entrepreneurs, and humanitarians. So what if those movers and shakers were wearing flannel as they were conquering the world? I say more power to ‘em.
10.) From the bucolic hills and mountains of the western region of the state, to our craggy coastline, to the rugged grace of Mt. Katahdin, to the rivers, forests, lakes, and fields of the County, Maine is a place of indisputable beauty. No matter which region you call home, there is sure to be someplace in Maine that calls to you, heart, mind, and spirit, in all seasons. Mud season included.
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And, for a sample of my fiction writing, follow the link to read my original short story, “Lost and Found,” recently published by the Hawaii Pacific Review: https://hawaiipacificreview.org/2015/12/10/lost-and-found/