I’m not very shy about voicing my displeasure with Maine winters. They’re cold, messy, and loooong. But I gotta tell you. There are some days, like last Saturday that even a cynic can enjoy.

The sun was out, casting blue shadows on the pristine snow. It was practically balmy at a very comfortable 25 degrees farenheit. So daughter, hubby, and I donned our very warm winter gear and climbed on the snowmobiles (called sleds here in northern Maine) and headed out into the woods.

Now, let me explain. Where I live, winter begins somewhere around the end of September and ends about a week before Memorial Day. Winter sports are a religion here (that and basketball… but that’s a blog for another day). Snowmobile trails are highways often times maintained better than some roads. They come complete with stop signs, curve ahead markers, route numbers, and signs pointing the way to local eateries. People can go most anywhere on a sled in northern Maine. One is just as likely to pull up behind a sled at the gas pump as a vehicle.

Needless to say, the ride was fabulous. Green firs weighed down with snow and deciduous trees with the last remnants of copper leaves hanging on their branches surrounded us. I was enjoying the solitude and the beauty… until of course we got lost. Lost men on sleds aren’t any better at asking for directions than men in cars. Now, in fairness to DH, the number of gas stations with bathroom facilities and friendly service attendants (both of which I could have used) are few and far between, but still… when you know you’re lost… stop, turn around, and go back to where you lost your way. Don’t keep driving into the depths of the northern woods hoping you’ll recognize some landmark. (That’s the stuff of news headlines!) Thankfully, we happened upon a lovely woman on snowshoes walking her dog, who smiled kindly and directed us off her property and back onto the trails.

So the answer is no, I didn’t pack up Santa and my Christmas tree, but I did manage to plot Meghan’s story. You see, it’s not exactly quiet on a sled, but there’s really nothing to clutter your mind, no television, no music, no voices calling my name (not real ones anyway), just me and my characters working to tell a story. So, like the nice lady on the snowshoes, Meghan showed me where I’d taken a wrong turn, pointed out some plot holes and now I’m working to find my way back and finish up her story.

Sometimes I actually enjoy winter!

Are the holidays really over? The drooping branches and growing pile of pine needles beneath my poor Christmas tree claim that its glory has come and gone. Of course the lights, still on a timer, happily twinkle on beginning at 3:37 pm and click off promptly at 10:12 pm. 

The stockings that hung with care are now strewn hap-hazardly about the couch, their contents half in and half out. *sigh* So today I will be pulling out the whip and megaphone and putting those slaves children of mine to work. Despite their vehement protestations and complaints we will pack up those ceramic angels and stuffed Santas, beg them not to multiply over the dull months ahead (as they always seem to do) and tuck them neatly back into the dark corner of my basement. Be gone you harbingers of time-sucking activities!

You see, the holiday season ate chunks of my writing time, nibbling away bit by bit until my productivity dipped lower than the Maine temps. But no more. I’m putting my foot down!

As 2008 rears its head and proclaims that another blank page of a year lies before me, available to fill as I choose, I have decided it’s time to take back my house–from the forlorn Christmas ornaments and the bored college students still on holiday. I will boldly forge ahead and stake my claim on the family room which is also my writing sanctuary and declare that it is once again off-limits during writing hours!

Yes, today I will pack up Christmas, dust off the keyboard and jump back into my writing schedule that has been tilted off its axis.

Oh, that feels better already! I am so happy the holidays are over and I can get back on track. I am ready to reclaim my home and my writing time… right after I put another load of laundry in the washer, do up the sink full of dishes, cheer at a swim meet, join dear hubby on a snowmobile ride, restock teenager devasted cupboards, and…