April 24, 2017

Wait 5 Minutes. You Know the Drill.

Trees after the December 2013 ice storm

Janine Pineo Photo | Trees after the December 2013 ice storm

• By John F. Chisholm •

Like the vast majority of Mainers, I’m inured to snow.  We receive varying amounts of it every winter.  It’s part of the program.  If you don’t like it, move.  There aren’t any other options.

As I say, it doesn’t offend me.

Ice, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.  I dread ice storms.  There have been some extremely destructive examples.  I was right here though The Ice Storm of ’98.  We were without electric power for a week.  We lost a great many trees.  Our orchards still aren’t the same.  A lot of antique varieties simply haven’t come back.  The woodstoves kept us warm.  Candles, lanterns and flashlights provided illumination.  But hauling water for the stock was a nightmare.  I couldn’t melt enough snow to keep our animals happy.  It froze without the tank de-icers working, compounding the difficulties of the job a hundred times over.  But sure, in the final analysis, we made it through.

Of course there have been other ice storms as well, other outages, other winters.

In fact, we’ve had two significant ice storms thus far this winter.  We lost electric power in each, but briefly.  We were fortunate.  A lot of Mainers lost their electric service for up to two weeks.

This entire history set me thinking.  If Oklahoma and Kansas have Tornado Alley, Maine has Ice-o-top Slip.  The weather turns ugly here.  We all know it.  What’s the old Down East saw?  “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”  Yeah.  It’s wild and variable here, no doubt about that.  But beyond it, arguably because of it, the rough going makes any smooth sailing that much more enjoyable.

In other words, the hard times define us.

They’re an education, too.  In my case, the hard way is the only way I’ve ever learned anything.  I should be grateful for that much.  Nobody needs an education more.

So absolutely, I hope that we don’t have another ice storm this winter.  But, being honest, it’s a real possibility.  My point, the storms themselves bring the knowledge that we can weather them.

That’s incredibly important.

It means the people of this state are resilient.  They’ve been educated.  It’s with real pride that we admit, “We’re from Maine.”  Maybe the weather isn’t as balmy as some like, but we’re here, regardless.  That, in turn, says something.  Not just about the weather but about the people who weather the weather.

That’s me.  And it’s you, too.