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Maine’s Many Seasons     Mark Bloomer 

Maine's six seasons

From the frozen hinterlands of mid-winter with all its snow and frigid nights to the balmy humid days of mid-summer with its lush growth and buzzing insects, Maine really has more than just one season of transition on either side of these two extremes. Early and late spring are really as distinct from one another as early and late fall. With all the changes involved, it would be fair to say Maine has at least six distinct seasons with two in the warming transition and two in the cooling transition.  

Following winters deep freeze, early spring is a season of gradual thawing, mud, slush and rumbling river ice. A balmy day of sunshine and tranquility can easily be followed by a blustery day of wind and ice. The transition to warmer seasons has begun but winters stormy chill can still hang on. Early spring typically begins in late February or early March when days are getting noticeably brighter and the extreme cold begins to ease. The rate of melting increases through early spring reaching a crescendo as the rivers roar to life with rising water and rumbling ice. The breakup and clearing of river ice marks a profound transition from the moody, slushy and often icy early spring to the ice free and mostly snow free second half of spring leading into green-up.

From late April through May is the late spring green-up season. Lawns turn green by the end of April and the trees come to life with new foliage in May. Everything from dandelions to forget-me-nots are beginning to bloom. The rivers that were roaring with snow melt and crumbling ice in early spring are settling down to offer their harvest of fishes and fiddle heads.

The next noticeable transition comes in early June. The first week in June typically brings a spike in humidity as the air becomes filled with the scent of nectar and the buzzing of insects. This brings us into the lush days of summer which last from early June through most of August. This is the warmest time of year filled with new life, a burgeoning crop and very warm days along with balmy nights.  

A new transition begins in late August. During this time of year many plants and grasses start going to seed and a tinge of crimson and gold can be seen in some foliage. The early fall, or what I like to call “golden fall”, lasts from late August into early October when the air is cooling but is still comfortably mild. This season crescendos with the colorful display of fall foliage.

Following “golden fall” comes the transition into “grey fall”. Like a colorful evening sunset giving way to the deeper darker violets of dusk, late fall, or “grey fall” as I like to call it, typically sets in during the second half of October and lasts through most of November. The leaves are down and a somber chill is settling over the landscape. The land has a frosty and foreboding silence as the grey and darker skies seem to portend the winter weather ahead.

Winter usually returns in late in November as winter storms begin to dress the landscape in a new blanket of snow and the long, cold dark nights refreeze the rivers and lakes. Winter lasts into late February before the first hints of early spring appear in the higher sun angles and lengthening daylight along with the first sounds of dripping snowmelt.

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