The first snowfall of the year is always pretty to us. It starts pretty.
We pause to look at the snowflakes from our windows drift gently, daintily from the sky and quietly blanket our brown winter fields, un-raked fall leaves, oak trees and back gardens. The watching is calming.
The boughs and holly berries from December remain within the window boxes of our shed, and the snow begins to cover them like sifted confectioners sugar.
I go toward the nostalgic – appreciating the change of seasons, the circle of life on this planet with the dying and subsequent rebirth and awakening of all of nature. As a writer, I dwell in the small print and the introspection.
On a balmy 30 degree day in January with brilliant sunshine and a deep royal blue sky, just one day after the first snowfall, we grabbed the snowshoes, LL Bean boots, fleece jackets and down vests and drove the short distance from our home in Portland, north to Freeport and Wolfe’s Neck State Park.
We love walking the park trails within the fall, but it surely seems we come here more in winter when we will see the blue/gray/green of the ocean through the trees, many bare of leaves.
There are so few people within the park and people who’re there are just the friendliest like-minded folks who smile and remark on the beauty and good weather as we pass.
A small boy being lifted from his car seat by his mom, said cheerily “Good morning!” to us as we bent to buckle our snowshoes – a large smile and knit hat, so happy to be right there with his folks, right then on a mid-Sunday morning.
Perhaps they’d had a pleasant breakfast together, perhaps had been up with the toddler since dawn, and now sought a little outing of fresh winter air and exercise.
Wolfe’s Neck State Park comprises over 200 acres off Flying Point Road on the coast in Freeport. It was given to the town in 1969 by the Lawrence M. C. Smith family as a gift so that all of us may enjoy bird watching, hiking, picnicking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing its myriad of trails that pass over tiny wooden footbridges, curve along the cliffs that overlook a smattering of small islands – Bustins, Little Bustins, Eagle, Moshier, Crab, and Chebeague and Cousins off to the far south.
The Old Woods, Harraseeket and Casco Bay trails are easy to moderate, a number of stone stairs to climb.
It is a lovely view when the tide is in. And an equally compelling view when the tide is out and we are able to walk and sit down on the rocks of Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River.
Wolfe’s Neck is quiet.
It is peaceful, serene in winter.
Snowshoeing the paths within the woods, we’re protected from the wind. The sunlight sparkles down through the tree tops.