April 01, 2009
During the winter in Bangor, Maine, the Penobscot River freezes over. If you go outside after dark, when there aren't many cars driving by, you can hear the ice cracking as it echoes along the boulders lining the mighty river.
In the spring, the locals place bets on when the ice will break up. Sure, we get some warning about it. The ice breaks apart up river first. But, driving north and peeking is cheating. It's actually quite amazing how it works. The warm weather weakens the ice and it starts to crack. It breaks into pieces, large and small. Some resemble icebergs that you could very well step on, if you had a death wish. Anyway, the Penobscot is tidal, which is why the ice continually creaks and cracks all winter. But, in the spring, when the sun is warm enough, and the ice had become thin enough, the area along our stretch of the river breaks apart and washes down river all in one day. It's quite a site to behold and we look forward to it like we do the 4th of July fireworks. The breakup of the river is a sign that we've survived yet another very harsh Maine winter.
Yesterday morning Max was outside with the camera taking pictures of the first signs of spring. This was one of his homeschooling assignments. Max took shots of trees and bushes that are budding (though we won't see leaves for a few more weeks), of the river water (no ice!) and grass in the yard...which we haven't seen in several months. He looked everywhere for our groundhog (the one that is my garden's enemy!!!) but couldn't find him anywhere. This is also the groundhog that chased Max through the yard last year. Okay, he wasn't really chasing Max. He was racing toward our deck, trying to get away from Percy, the dog. Max just happened to be in front of them. So, Max and the groundhog and Percy were running at full speed toward the deck, where Richard and I were sitting. I screamed a long, high-pitched shriek and jumped past Max, directly in front of the groundhog, intent on saving my baby from that ferocious, um, tiny creature. Max darted to the left while the groundhog darted to the right, around me and under the deck. Percy got to the deck and stopped, knowing he wouldn't fit underneath, all the while barking furiously. Richard was sitting on the deck laughing so hard I thought he'd wet his pants. He said he'd never seen anything so funny.
Anyway, now Richard and Max are studying the hibernation schedule of groundhogs. What's great about homeschooling is that you can tailor your lessons to your child's current interests, which means they're always interested in today's lesson!
This week's Maxism:
We were looking at a photo album of the day when Mason was born. Max was oohing and aahing about how small Mason used to be and what a cute baby he was. He then looked up and matter-of-factly said, "Aren't you glad you didn't have a vampire baby?"
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