History and experience to reassure us on these winter days
“The world looks as if it were at the mercy of the wind and cold in winter, and it would be useless to dream that such a time as spring would follow these apparently hopeless days if we had not history and experience to reassure us.” – Sarah Orne Jewett
Watching the storm swirl northeast-ward on the radar and watching the waves build on east-facing beaches, these words bring blossoms to the branches and green to the front yard.
Author Sarah Orne Jewett was born in South Berwick, Maine , so her word-paintings of the seasons Down East ring especially true to those of us Mainers who watch from February windows. Wish we knew if the birds and deer had their own way of remembering spring to last them through. Certainly they know where they found food last winter.
We humans have the magic to conjure spring from a blizzard. It’s no false hope to plan a garden or desperation that makes us dream of the sun. We have “history and experience to reassure us.” We know that in just a few months – fewer now before the next season than from the one past – that we’ll see that first car come down Grand Avenue to Spruce Point Inn . And we’ll be able to see past the snowbank and out over the Bay.
Soon it will be the sun that sends us indoors from the Westport chairs not the winter wind. And Deck will be filled with laughter, or maybe a wedding party savoring the long twilight of a summer’s eve.
We know you read this and recall your own “oceanside memories made in Maine” and draw from your own “history and experience” to replay the scenes and sounds, tastes and tints of a summer day in Boothbay Harbor . Your lighthouse sweeps a harbor filled with masts. Your lobster, straight from the steamer, is meant for dining-by-bathing suit. Your coastal drive is framed by lupine and shade trees.
History and experience can turn February into July, rosy Valentines into sun-bronzed expectations. Man’s reach does exceed his grasp more often than we’d wish. But every now and then, we close our eyes and what we most wish for is there to hold onto.
It won’t be long, now.