Many things I ridiculed growing up (and growing older) I’ve become. Bald-headed men. Old people who talk about their health problems with other old people. Victims of CRS (Can’t Remember – well, you know).

I’ve become all of these things, and more. And now I’m soon to become another thing I used to make fun of: a snowbird.

My earlier, ungenerous take on these featherless flight risks were people of a certain age who just didn’t have the guts and gumption to survive Maine’s wickedly cold and snowy winters without putting their tails between their legs and packing it in for warmer and drier climes.

With age comes wisdom. And weakness. Maine’s long, brutal winters have wised me up and worn me down.

Winter, you win.

I concede your power and choose to flee.


And now that I am retired I can bomb down to Florida in February and March like the climate coward I am.

There’s no end to ranting about Maine’s winter wrath, and I’ve done my share of complaining in these pages.

I’ve also written about the special connection between Maine and Florida, which seems to me an unholy alliance.

If Florida is God’s Waiting Room, then Maine (in winter) is Dante’s Tenth Circle of Hell.

I’ve paid my dues.

I’ve lived in the Northeast nearly 40 years (after growing up in Las Vegas, one of the hottest places on Earth).


I ran away from Sin City in part because of the unbearably hot weather; now I’m just reversing direction, bound by family and friends to stick close to the Eastern Seaboard.

I would, however, like to visit the magical parts of the Southwest on the Colorado Plateau every few winters.

Places like Bryce Canyon and Zion and Arches national parks.

Those destinations get pretty cold in the winter too, but there are few places as beautiful and otherworldly. Arriving there from Maine’s green forests and rolling hills, you feel like you’ve stepped out of a spaceship onto the surface of Mars.

One of the great benefits of not battling the worst winter months is that you get to go through your closet and deplete it of much of your heavy wool clothing.

This is literally a load off your back.


There’s also great satisfaction in giving away your winter clothes to those needier souls who can’t afford Harris Tweed jackets and Burberry coats.

I probably make too much of this.

In the final analysis, we’re just a bunch of disgruntled old people shuttling back and forth, north and south, trading our Yankee resoluteness for some Southern comfort.

In the end (and I’m getting closer to it every day), I guess I’d rather be warm than virtuous.

This is a slippery slope, all downhill. Next thing you know, I’ll be looking longingly at condos in The Villages, that Disney World-like community of codgers where they ride golf carts all day and play musical beds at night.

Old folks just wanna have fun.

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