Winter is half over and, by most accounts, it has been a pretty easy one.

The sun is around longer in the day, and it is higher in the sky.

When I sit in my dining room window, the sun beats more warmly on my face.

The cats seem to know spring is closer because, despite how cold it is outside, they want to linger longer on the deck before asking to come in.

We know that, as spring edges closer, the storms may dump more snow, but it will melt faster.

Soon we’ll be arriving home from work in the light instead of the dark.

Summer is no longer a far-off dream.

I’m beginning to think about my vegetable garden.

Will I plant more potatoes? Fewer onions?

I must take more time to choose seedlings that produce sweeter, less pulpy tomatoes. I will grow my usual large crop of carrots and, of course, cucumbers.

What is a summer without a bowl of home grown tomatoes and cukes, sliced thick and doused in vinegar, salt and pepper, on the table daily?

Maybe I’ll try growing eggplant this year, perhaps squash. I must remember to go light on the number of zucchini plants.

How nice it would be to wake up in the morning, step outdoors into the sunshine, hear the birds singing and watch the cats frolic in the yard.

Yes, it’d be a pleasure to travel to some warmer state, lie by the ocean, eat fresh fruit and bask in the warm breeze under the palm trees.

But, boy, is it nice to wake up in our own state of Maine, sun shining, grass green, the air clean and warm, on a promising spring day.

After a long winter, albeit comparatively mild, the contrast is invigorating.

I would not want to live, year-round, in a hot or even a warm climate.

Having spent most of my life in a state with four seasons, I have become accustomed to anticipating the gradual change from cold to warm, hot to temperate, without which I would feel bereft.

We New Englanders are hardy souls with character. I believe our character is built, in part, by the rhythms of changes in seasons.

Could we imagine Halloween without a dark night, dry leaves whipping about in a chilling wind? Christmas without snow or at least the prospect of it? March without mud? Easter without the freshness of spring? Or planting our gardens in dry sand?

Give us fall, a reprieve from summer traffic, heat and constant movement.

Winter, a time and place to draw inward, find solace in warmth, tell stories.

Spring, the hope of new beginnings.

And summer, our reward for enduring the extended cold and darkness.

We would be bland people, monotonous, without being knocked about by nature’s ebbs and flows.

We may whine and curse when it’s too hot or too cold, too windy or too wet, but we’re all the better for having lived it.

When I hear people say they are moving to a warmer clime, I wish them well.

Theirs will be a nice spot to visit, but no place to live.

Maine has it all — and all of us who love being here reap the rewards.

There’s no better spot to call home.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 31 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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