There is nothing like spring after a long winter. Winter is always long when you live in Vermont. Along about November the leaves have all fallen and the days get gray and blustery. We lose the light in November. It is that loss of light more than anything else that signals winter to me. It feels worrying somehow. November is dark and hard. Then Thanksgiving perks up the scene, for a few days anyway, and Christmas brings a light all its own. The snow in January brightens the whole world and makes winter seem sparkly and fun. We sled and ski with enthusiasm and feel smug and proud of our shiny winter selves. And then comes February and everyone is pretty well sick of the whole mess. March is still snowy and blustery and spring seems like a distant promise.
And then it happens. The sun comes out and you poke around the yard where some of the snow has melted and start picking up the winter debris. There are sticks everywhere and how did those pine trees produce thousands of cones in just one windstorm you wonder. Then the sun climbs a little higher and you feel a spot of its warmth on your cheek. You turn your head up to catch more of it and when you look down because your neck feels stretched and sore you see the little shoots of crocus and some green where eventually there will be daylilies in July. Spring has sprung. It sneaks up on me every year. Suddenly energy abounds. Who cares that we don’t have blooming pear trees or green grass? And as the sun shines the snows melt and the mud begins to move. It is time foe wellies again and kitchen floors with mud stuck in between the planks, and thank God for it. The sun is back and we have survived winter. The thrill is tangible. The post office is alive with promise and expectation. The old people come back out. They grin and greet and you can just imagine the bears up in woods doing the same. A trip to the general store begins with chicken feed and ends with tulips. The wonderful sense of spring fills you up and makes you glad. Sixty degrees won’t last. That’s for sure. There will undoubtedly be more snow. But spring has been here and so you can be sure it will come back. The sun has begun to tip our way and pretty soon we will be in the magic season with lilacs and the riot of Vermont summer color that can only have been planted by people who live with snowdrifts and howling winds for half of the year. It will be a short growing season and so you might also expect a tepid one. But it is rather just the opposite. People plant with ridiculous abandon up here. All of that famous New England reserve goes out the window during planting season. It won’t last and so by God we better over-do seems to go the thinking. There are flowers here that would make the rain forest proud. Stone walls surround gardens with wonderful columns and graceful birdhouses nestled between flowers and vegetables that will feed body and soul for glorious weeks on end.
This morning Frank our rooster was crowing and the chickadees were answering him. He heard their reply and not to be outdone answered them back. This went on for a while with the sounds of birds and chickens filling the air. It is finally spring and everybody is in on it.