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Editor's Notes
Enjoying the spring melt

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Editor's Notes
Enjoying the spring melt

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It’s between seasons, the melt, when the awkward silence encapsulating nature in ice is orchestrated into a crescendo of buds overgrowing brown stick plants and lush green shoots carpeting mudflats. Birds return like clockwork every year, and animals come out of their slumber to seek food and mates.

It’s a time of year when warming air and longer daylight lure humans to the outdoors as well.

March tracksThis Winter/Spring issue of the Gulf of Maine Times celebrates the melt in two stories. Assistant editor Catherine Coletti takes us to a marsh in winter, and tells us of the impending changes. “During winter, most of the perennial plants—the plants that will come back each spring—use energy and nutrients absorbed by their rhizomes, or underground plant stems, to stay alive under the ice,” she writes.

“This spring, increasing light and warmth will tell the marsh to wake up...the melting away may reveal a weathered face, as ice, tides and waves have chipped away at its fragile outer edges.”

Another story profiles poet and conservationist Marnie Reed Crowell, a resident of Deer Isle, Maine. Nothing tickles Crowell’s imagination like the spring melt. At the first signs of cracking ice, images flood her mind and poetry runs through her fingertips onto paper. The biologist-cum-poet and environment conservationist says every season has its charms, but she loves melt. “I like to watch new sprouts come up and the old, dirty snow melt away … increasing day(light) is a metaphor for optimism,” says Crowell.

She describes the energy of the melt we’re all about to experience beautifully in “Eider Envy,” her poem about the Eider duck spring congregations that she calls “one of the wonders of the natural world.”

“Was it yesterday the frozen cove
was locked-down desert? Today
the shore is ringed with rotting
blocky slabs.
In a languid band of Prussian blue
the rockweeds
wave and the silver sheen is alive
with thousands of eiders. It’s galactic,
this black-and-white sprinkle.”

The melt is a time of year that calls amateur and expert naturalists alike to observe the rebirth of the world around them—the lichens rimming the bottom of tree trunks in the city and country, the bird song returned after a long winter, buds spiraling around tree branches. Whether you experience these awakenings on your own or as part of a group outing, enjoy.

Lori Valigra

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