On Mussel Cove, Maine winter is a beauty not a beast

Mussel Cove, Maine – When my Fort Worth friends phone, laughing, to ask how I’m coping with the brutal winter here I know they believe they’re rubbing it in, gloating about the milder Texas climate while I endure the relentless cold and snow of the Northeast. Even the recent Southern cold snap failed to dissuade the taunting from Texas, so I just play along. “Sixteen below on Saturday,” I say. “Didn’t even want to step outside to get the paper.”

“I know what you mean,” they chortle. “It dipped into the 50s here yesterday. Almost had to wear a coat.” I hang up the phone, pour another cup of coffee, ease into a chair and gaze out the window at Mussel Cove, where I live. Not only does Mussel Cove change daily, even hourly, as its tidal waters move in and out with the rhythms of the moon and tide but it also changes season by season, wearing the lush greens of spring and summer, the explosion of reds, browns and yellows of fall, and now the heavy white coat of winter, shimmering in ice and snow.

Everyone has his or her favorite season. I love them all but actually favor winter on the cove. Fall is a close second, especially on a sunny day when I can watch a masterfully speckled red leaf fall from an overhanging branch, land lightly on the water and drift out with the tide. Winter, though, brings an early and bright sun that rises ever so slowly above the coast that faces almost directly east, casting its light on the glittering ice and pure white snow. The truth is, I don’t go outside to get the paper but not because I can’t bear to open the door to the numbing cold, as I tell my friends. I stay by the window because I do not want to miss the beauty of morning on Mussel Cove. The scenes change as if you were scrolling photos from your camera or iPhone library. When nature’s kaleidoscope finally settles on a view, I venture outside and walk down to look out toward the ocean, framed by the rock-bound edges of Mussel Cove.

It’s a peaceful scene without the bustle of summer stirring up the ocean’s waters. Boats are in their winter berths, some sleeping under massive plastic shrink wraps held up by what look for all the world like the skeletal remains of prehistoric animals. Slats of wood for backbone and ribs. But they are quiet now and so is the ocean. It sleeps in quiet ripples. There are those who look at Mussel Cove and miss the secrets that lie within its rock-ribbed shores and tree-canopied waters. “Can’t see the ocean,” they say, looking out at the cove. “Nope,” I say. “That’s the beauty of Mussel Cove. We watch nature change it by the hour and each phase has special beauty. The ocean is majestic but it’s also static. There’s often a monotony to waves when they are quiet, and even when they are angry. And when we want to see the ocean we just peek around the corner. Pictures are worth a thousand words. I share two here to show my Texas friends that Maine has its magical moments, despite the misery it can inflict in wintertime. True, it’s been even colder than usual here and more snow has fallen than in past years. But the weather has provided a perfect excuse to stay inside and enjoy the serene beauty of Mussel Cove.

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Richard Connor is CEO of the Business Press’ parent company, DRC Media. He claims dual citizenship in Maine and Texas. Contact him at rconnor@bizpress.net.