May 2, 2009 by Ellen Stimson in Springtime, Vermont. New England

The trees are covered with tiny leaves. The Maples are revealing their mapley selves with these miniature perfectly shaped leaves. They are almost transparent at this stage. The greens are fresh and lacy and they are climbing back up the mountains. In the autumn the color washes down over the valley in waves and then in the spring it gently climbs back up starting low in the valley and by middle May reaching high up the sides of the mountains. The last of the snow up there has finally disappeared this week and the joy of the greening has begun in earnest.

I love spring. It is chilly in the mornings when we go out and give the lambs their bottles around 6. John and I carry our mugs of coffee, their bottles, and blankets to cover the wet chairs. It rains about every night now at least for a little while. The chairs on the terrace are cold and damp. But by the time we come back in an hour or so later the sun is glowing through the trees streaming down in fat yellow drops. There are puddles of it all over the garden. John’s rock walls have little bright pools glistening on top them, and inside their are bits of it all over the furniture and floors. Under an old quilt inside the cold house we drink more hot thick coffee and watch the lambs from the windows. It is an ancient looking landscape; sheep grazing amidst sun and spring lavender on a hilly smallholding.

Life is old here. There is a slow and dependable rhythm to our days. The seasons are more real somehow when you are living this close to the land. Farmer’s markets are where we get most of our food for six months out of the year from people who make their living from this land. Our milk comes from a dairy up the road and often is still warm when we pick up our jars. And even the cheese in the refrigerator comes from local goat farmers who are trying to make a difference in their tiny part of the world.

Things close early up here. There is one movie theater with two screens. The restaurants wrap up by 9 because there just are not enough people up here to justify staying open any later. Even the newspapers don’t get to Vermont before 8 or 9. This is not a state big enough to print its own and so we must wait for NY to print theirs and deliver us ours. You must like the people you live with a lot and you must know how to entertain yourself to feel happy. You walk in the woods because there are no art museums and you go to the waterfall for coffee instead of the cafe across from the park. We were always seriously big readers, but now books sustain us even more deeply than before. Some of us write and some of us draw. There is even knitting on the coldest nights. The pleasures are the same ones that our ancestors probably enjoyed. We cook elaborate meals and we care for and play with our animals many hours every day. They give us the daily responsibilities that keep us moving when it is 10 below. We do our work out in the world every day and then we come back here where the views and the slow moving time remind us to pay attention and remember why we chose this new life in this old place.
And on days like today when the lambs are munching in the meadow with these pools of sunshine all around I can hear God is whispering in my ear……


  • CrystalJigsaw

    Crystal Jigsaw has left a new comment on your post “May”:

    My kind of life…., I’ll join Starrlife with that big sigh.

    We currently have 9 pet lambs to feed, they’re all coming on a treat and I often think of you when I’m feeding.

    I’ll do another post soon to update on their progress. I do have lots of photos on my Facebook page if you’re interested: Kathryn Brown.

    Love to you and the lambs, CJ xx

  • GutsyWriter

    GutsyWriter has left a new comment on your post “May”:

    I can feel my breathing slow down as I read your post today. I can also feel the beauty of nature and how most city people don’t have time to enjoy this aspect of life. Beautifully written.

  • Texas mama@ Who Put Me In Charge

    Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge has left a new comment on your post “May”:

    Another beautiful post. You have such a beautiful voice.

  • Starlife


  • Katiedid

    6Am to give the lambs their bottles???
    It is slow because you are slowly and surely losing your mind!

  • Anonymous

    I love spring too. Ours is almost over. We are already getting summer temperatures. Maybe I need to come to Vermont

  • painted maypole

    oh, this is lovely. it even managed to pull me back from singing john denver in my head (you had to put in “Life is old here” ???? …. “older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like the breeze, country roads…. take me home…..”)

  • beesknees

    My blog did this all weekend too…posted people with blogs as just their name without the links. Looks like it is working intermittently now
    Anyway lovely post….
    I had lambs when I was growing up when I visited my Grandparent’s farm one summer. We loved them. Now I think back and I guess they went to market since they left the farm while still lambs. They were very sweet. There is something special about lambs. I have never eaten lamb all my life because of that one special summer with those sweet and very bright, no matter what people say, lambs. They were curious and playful and sweet and loving. Why exactly must we eat them?

  • Library Lady

    Knitting? Really? I’m so proud! I’ve been knitting all weekend and made exactly no progress because I have to rip out every row I knit! I’d much rather be sitting out watching lambs or almost anything! Our spring is playing hide and seek. It gets warm for a day or two and then retreats into cool gray rainy and cloudy days. The Mississippi is over flood stage and one of the casinos had to shut down for a few days!

  • Kate

    I’m pretty sure that a season with you might just cure what ails me. I’m coming.

  • Dreams and Designs

    I love spring too. I love your descriptions of it!

    I’m al ittle sad because I feel like I am missing my window to plant my first actual garden but I’m too busy to do anything about it. 🙁

  • Trannyhead

    *wistful sigh*

    Down here, we’ve been subjected to endless rain! Sure, everything is lush and green, but peoples’ grass is going to die of fungus. Moreover, I’ve never seen such incredible mushroom colonies in my life! I tell you – we’ve had rain every day for weeks! Normally I wouldn’t mind, but it’s impossible to find indoor stuff to do with a toddler for weeks on end!

  • starrlife

    Where are you sweetie? Is the doggie okay? Hope all is well.

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