It is unbearably bleak as winter lingers with scattered snowstorms followed by rain and ice. Mud season can’t really get going because it keeps freezing. The freezing rain, mixed with snow is the worst. It is worse because there is all this wet just waiting to melt and make new deep ruts in the driveway while washing horrible gloppy mountain mud all over the glistening white house freshly painted last fall in a rush of sentiment about how it would all look in the spring. In the autumn light, with orange and red leaves floating around it is easy to get misty about spring and forget the long slog of winter, followed as it always is by the weeks of mud.
People who have lived here all their lives speak in wistful romantic tones usually reserved for the poets about May. In May the leaves are lacy and the mud has been powerwashed away. The sunlight is new, and the greens climb the mountains in waves of color with the fresh new greens at the top settling down to the darker more established ones at the bottom. Green comes in a dazzling array of hues. There are the barely there washes alongside the deep forest green of the tall pines. The depth of green is fully realized in the old green hills of Vermont.
But this week, with the sand from the lane caught in all the floorboards, and the ice on the marble steps treacherously needing salt all day long, amid a meadow littered with broken branches heavy with ice because they were just too old to stand it anymore, May seems more like myth than promise. But it is here in Vermont that I have finally learned patience. I think once you learn it you never forget it. I spent 40 years running around saying patience wasn’t one of my virtues, and thinking that the speed and high velocity
way I lived my life were. Now, here in this high valley, where the paper comes when it comes, and spring makes you wait, where the lilacs don’t really get going until May, and it always snows on Easter, I have learned what is worth waiting for. May smells sweeter because March is so long.
I have gotten on a plane and found work to do in Florida this week where it smells like spring, and the beaches are full of people in their twenties. My kids are a rosy brown, and we have sand in all of our clothes. We are feeding pelicans instead of chickens this week. Because patience is lovely, and May will be beautiful, but I was starting to feel older than I am, and there is nothing like an 80 degree day to make you remember your twenties. Patience is nice, but sometimes you need a little sun while you wait….