Mercurial January

At any time of year, the weather in Maine is apt to be temperamental. The morning might start out bright and sunny, but by afternoon the sky is dark and either rain or snow comes, depending on the season.  In the summer, this variability can make biking a little tricksy. The sky is blue, and out you go on your bike, but midway through the ride the sky darkens, thunder rumbles in the background, and you pedal like crazy to get home before the storm comes your way. Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you don’t.

However, it seems to me that when it comes to temperamental months, January must be in the running for top honors. Over the weekend, Clif and I went for a walk on Sunday and Monday, and the two days couldn’t have been more different.

On Sunday, the sky was gray, and a storm was brewing—unfortunately it brought rain, which is most unwelcome in Maine in January. Accordingly, the woods were dim, the Lower Narrows was a dull white, and it seemed as though Clif and I were walking in a black and white world. Nevertheless, snowmobiles buzzed across the Narrows, and people were fishing by their shacks.

The gray Narrows
A white Narrows under a gray sky
Ice fishing in the distance
Ice fishing in the distance
Black and white on white
Black and white on white

Not long after we got home from our walk, the rain came, and the roads became slick, so slick that I skidded the car into a snow bank at the end of our driveway after going to get the Sunday paper at Rite Aid. No harm was done, and I maneuvered the car into the driveway, where the car stayed until Tuesday, when Clif went to work.

By Monday, the sky had cleared, and the woods were bright with dappled sunlight.  On the Narrows, there was a layer of water on the ice, and the fishing shacks were gone. Hauled away, we hope, when it became clear that there would be a lashing rain all day on Sunday. No snowmobiles raced across the the Narrows, and Clif and I could hear the groaning and cracking of the ice.

No more black and white
No more grey and black and white

Gone was the gray and the black and white palette. Now there was a blue tinge to the snow.


Two days in January, one right after another. The weather and the light make every walk visually unique, which is why I can go on the same path day after day and see something different, something of interest.

Nature, in all its variety, never fails to absorb me.

2 thoughts on “Mercurial January”

  1. Do you ever marvel at an animal’s ability to walk bare-footed on snow like that? I know they’re designed for it, but seeing them do it still makes me feel cold. 🙂

    A beautifully written post.

    1. Bill, it is amazing that animals can comfortably walk bare-footed on snow. Thanks for the kind words.

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