Barbara Parent: Heading south for the winter

Barbara Parent: Heading south for the winter



reporter photo

Today is a Winnie the Pooh blustery day. Cross Lake is showing off. White caps are lopping across her expanse, breaking at shore as if to point out that Square Lake is not the only mighty body in the five Fish River chain of lakes. 

Her waters today are a far cry from the smooth surface we woke up to mere days ago. The same can be said of the early morning temperature at 42 degrees that had us cover the geraniums for fear of a frost. 

The branches on the evergreens at the lake’s shore sway as the wind rips through them and causes their needles to shake two and fro in bewilderment. That’s because of the mild summer here at Cross Lake and the only breezes that moved their sleepy selves were soothing as they were to those of us who remarked about the wonderful summer we were experiencing.

“The best we’ve had in years,” was heard up and down West Side Road and Shoreline Drive.

Our summer here at Cross Lake had us commiserating with family and friends at home as phone calls brought complaints of soaring temperatures and wretched humidity day after day after day. Fortunate indeed were we.

So do we complain on this Winnie the Pooh blustery day when the Gods have been so weather kind for so long. I think not.

The beach roses are reacting to the wind, back and forth, back and forth their thorny stems shake the few flowers as if to say, “Off with your head!” yet their petals hold on dearly. 

The humming birds no longer squabble at the feeder. Our neighbor Lynn Voisine has told us to cease putting out their sugar and water because they should leave for warmer places by Sept. 15. Best to not tempt them to hang around any longer.

Just days ago they still sipped from the feeders as they had all summer to our delight and that of visitors to camp. Yet today, this Winnie the Pooh blustering day we see not a one.

Have they packed their suitcases, as we will shortly, and hit the route headed south? 

There is not one boat, jet ski, canoe or kayak on the lake this blustery day. Many Cross Lakers are in the process of removing their docks and pulling their power boats out of the water. Aroostook County natives know how swiftly the temperatures can drop and ready themselves for the long winter early. 

We ride our bikes down West Side Road and observe the cords of wood neatly stacked and covered in anticipation for what is to come. These residents who live at the lake year round are used to below zero temperatures and snow that, as Nancy Paradis will convey in phone calls in December, is half way up the slider in her carving room. I often think how swell it would be to witness a snow fall sitting on the couch in our camp, looking out the windows on either side of our wood stove, watching the flakes big as cotton balls while the flickering flames keep the camp cozy. One can buy the winter scene on a DVD but the real thing would be so much better.

Ron thinks me foolish, pointing out that our camp is not insulated and that temperatures well below freezing, which is the norm here in Aroostook County, might prove a bit too much for a wood stove trying to keep up with a long winter. The fact that a drive from Connecticut is eight and a half hours, one would not venture here for just a day or two just to watch the snow falling and flames flickering in the wood stove if, in fact, one could even shovel a path through the snow drifts to get into the camp. 

The bay window in our kitchen at home provides a great view of snow falling, he reminds me. And the flames from the logs in the fireplace provide the ambiance. Not to mention, he adds, the house is insulated and the oil furnace offers backup at the flick of a dial.


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