The wind howls through Fryeburg’s church steeples this morning. It’s 5 a.m. and going to be colder and sunnier. Just colder and sunnier. It doesn’t matter than what.

But not anywhere near as cold as it will be, my nephews have admonished. We’ll buy you real gloves, don’t worry, and socks, they promise.

We are talking about January and February. If I make it. I did try to go to Portland. Just to go. When I got to the city, which here in Fryeburg is Windham, it was raining like a monsoon and I couldn’t see the road.

Inhaling freshly made blueberry pancakes at Stoned Moose Cafe, I contemplate the indigestible subject of aging. In my (newly formed and impervious) opinion, for what it’s worth, death is fine but dying is not, the reverse of what has been written.

Dying is in the details, the pills and therapies, but death? Is it frozen? Visual? Here In Maine folks get elder on elderberries and elder hostels. They age differently, with spunk.

They smoke or chew tobacco, eat bacon, venison and moose meat. Drink strong Green Mountain coffee and potato vodka and Cabin Fever. They drink respectably and age with wrinkles from the cold and grow white beards to keep warm, smiling and smart.

My new mechanic, Hoss, looks like and, in fact, is Santa. Oops, confession No. 1. I now believe in Santa, even though I am Jewish by birth and have the skepticism of a New Yorker, but hey, can we let that go?

In his philosopher’s den in Lovell, along with your new tires or oil change, Hoss gives you a brochure he has published filled with aphorisms and affirmations for staying upbeat.

He has a photo of a young boy having shot his first moose, proud eyes staring down on customers, a regular Currier and Ives. Hoss is ageless. He could be 45 or 70. As an elder he will be changing your timing belt and praising the divine.

And so in Windham, after all those pancakes, I console myself with the gas I’m saving postponing my day in Portland — until some other time, of course. But Mainers wouldn’t need to write that. In fact you feel like an idiot rambling on about things they have figured out long before.

They get it, get you and before you are out of the door of the local deli and its sign, “Hunters Welcome,” they are giving you advice about Alzheimers and home care and VA benefits, and hugging you and telling you the story about their parents with Parkinson’s and dementia.

Guys, if I ever do encounter that moose she will be standing in front of my car waiting for me to take my gaze off her pond and stop and see what is on the road right in front of me. I may or may not hit her, but at least now I know to aim for her butt, brake and then release just before impact. I hope to remember to say a quick mantra of love.

– Special to the Telegram