Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What it's like here

For those of you who may be reading this entry from south of the Mason-Dixon line...here's what late August in Southern Maine is like:

The humidity may be back, or it may not, but lately it's been cool. I've thrown an extra blanket on my bed, I'm up to two now. I close my windows at night, and I've been wearing long sleeves for three days.

The first yellow leaves have fallen to the ground, marring an otherwise emerald green summer lawn. Evenings, like watching the Perseids, you wear a sweatshirt.

When you get a hot day, you hold onto it because it might be the last. Once Labor Day hits, the heat is gone for good, days in the 70's are typical with brilliant blue sky because of no haze or humidity. The days are pretty, but there's an underlying heartache because you know fleeting summer is leaking away and it won't be back for 10 more months. The mood around here is best described as wistful.

Swimming in the ocean is never a good idea, the temps are in the 50s at the start of the season and only climb to about 68 in August. On the hottest day you might see a few kids in near-beach surf and adults standing ankle or shin deep. The water really is like ice cubes and each wave feels like a thousand needle pin pricks in your skin. Lake swimming is better because the shallow water heats up faster. Above, we start putting pool covers on at night to hold onto the day's warm water temps. Otherwise, it could lose 10 degrees overnight.

By the end of August you really enjoy the warmth in the car because the air has a bite and the warm inside car air reminds you of bone-warming heat that you got for two weeks in July and complained about then.

You cannot plant any more after Labor Day because first frost could come any night. The mood when you take your plants in is best described as stoic. 'We know what's coming' (winter's onslaught) but we are stoic. "We can take it", you think. "We're tough Yankees."

You can take it right up until you decide you can't take it any more. And then you move south.

5 comments:

Louie B said...

Truthfully descriptive.

Anonymous said...

Eh, you wimp. We may not actually SWIM in the ocean but certainly go in and ride the waves. After a minute or two it isn't cold any longer. You are missing out on a Maine thrill.

Anonymous said...

Do not believe Elizabeth. The ocean is delightful up here. No need to go south, that's for the birds. (ANd autumn aint so bad neithah)

Elizabeth Prata said...

Ah, been there done that. Reid State Park...brrr. I prefer clear Bahamian waters! I can snorkel for hours. In Maine, you don't feel it after a minute or two because you can't feel anything after a minute or two !

Elizabeth Prata said...

It's cold because the warming effects of the gulf stream is diverted off Cape Cod. NOAA's current listing of ocean temps: Portland: 59.2. Newport RI: 69.4 You don't have to "believe" me, go to NOAA.
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/natl.html

Or here to see glacial surface temps. You do not have to know how to convert Celsius to understand the key, and visual presentation that ice blue is colder than green
http://www.maineharbors.com/weather/seatemp.htm