Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Seasons

In Maine, people say there are four seasons, summer, fall, winter, and mud.  However, in some ways, there are two:  summer, and the rest of the year.  More than any other place I have lived, there is a deep separation between these two times of the year.  First of all, it is well known that the population expands exponentially in the summer.  Let's face it; it is a vacation state.  And that has real implications for the year round population.  While the year rounders have their lives, their routines, their meetings, things go topsy-turvy come June.  People VISIT.   Naturally jobs must continue, but club meetings and nonprofit board meetings stop. Routines change.  One may live in the same house, but lead a very different life style, see different people, and do different things from the rest of the year.  And this is accepted and expected.  One may as well say goodbye to one's winter buddies as if leaving on a cruise ship in mid June, only to return after Labor Day.  It also has something to do with the dramatic climatic differences.  All of a sudden folks are outside, gardening and swimming , hiking with their visiting friends and relatives, instead of  watering indoor plants, going to an indoor gym, or taking walks bundled up in several layers.

I admit I may be overstating this because I lived so many years in  one-climate locals.  Actually,  for eighteen years we had Christmas in 100 degree climates.  Oman and Sri Lanka have year round tropical weather, and Peru is in the southern hemisphere, so December 25 is the middle of summer. Near the equator the sun rises and falls at about the same time all year.  My book clubs and charity board meetings met every month, and life went on at a steady pace.  People may have taken their own time off, but the system never  just stopped.

Actually, it's true that Europeans just stop everything in August, as unknowing American tourists quickly discover.  The difference is that they get up and leave.  Here in Maine, the locals stay; they just live a life as different in routine from the rest of the year as their summer wardrobe.

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