Preparing for winter in Down East Maine

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Cold breaks the warm hold that trees and fields once had on the land. Color now blooms forth in a display of surrender. Trees turn scarlet, gold, purple and orange. Birches smile a frosty grin of white through the evergreens.

Wind shifts direction, and takes a hard turn at the wheel, blowing hard. North by northwest makes it all very real. Winter’s approach turns every chore urgent for a Downeaster’s preparation. Canning, chopping, stacking and hunting — all these autumn verbs give meaning to the actions of doing, preparing and surviving.

Traps are pulled. Salt spray clings to gear, clings to everything, wants to hold onto summer. Determined fishermen ply the waters. Bright bow lights lead their way beyond the reach before the sun peeks. Chart plotters dazzle pinpricks of colored light that say “Here I am,” as trap after trap is hauled and piled high on deck. Diesel sounds float with the gulls, then both turn and head for home.

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