Mud season has just about gone by. We are now deep into the season of cleaning up, patching and putting away. The church tag sale happens every year on the last weekend of April when supposedly the weather is apt to be finer and the town has begun once more to shine. Roof tiles that littered lawns are picked up and the rugged roofers are called. Shutters done in by the long winter and hanging askew have been seemingly winking at us from all over town are finally inexorably put back to rights. Repair, revise, replaster….We recently had a death in our family and there seems to be a special lesson for us in all the spring cleaning this year. April is the month when Dorset Vermont gets ready again, puts on her best aprons and smiles, and sweeps the doorstep one last time. Winter ends. You can only be cold for just so long and then it is time to turn the lights back on.
The church bells play every day at noon. Daylight savings time moves them up for a while to one o’clock until somebody, probably the rector’s secretary, sets them too once more to rights. They are a mournful sound in winter when the echoes seem to bounce off the barren trees and they ring loudly and plaintively among the snow covered mountains. But in spring when the buds and flowers come back they seem to soften and the songs they play even have a quicker happier tempo. I love those church bells. It was one of the reasons we bought this house. Hannah and I were standing out on the balcony the first time we saw the house when an old hymn seem to ring out across our meadow. That was it. It still is. The music goes on ringing year after year.
Now as the woods seem to come back to life and there are a batch of baby cardinals living in the bush beside our front porch the bells are just part of the happy cacophony of spring. The peepers are back too. These teensy little frogs fill the wetlands with a joyful chorus every day at dusk. In some places the sound is so loud you have to raise your voice to be heard above them. We walk through town, grab a cappuccino at the bookstore café and look in the windows of the art galleries to see what all the locals were up to this past winter. We have a fair ration of painters and photographers who hole up in winter and bring forth a bounty just about now. In a few weeks there will be an art show in an old pig barn just up the road. Workers are even now cleaning it up and out and readying it for the hordes of art lovers who will surely visit.
April is perhaps the hardest month up here. It was especially sad this time around. It teases us when we are down and nearly without hope. And then just like that the mountains open up and the green starts its gentle climb back up. Our hearts soar with every bud and every new leaf. Just now my John collected a little bowl of eggs from our nearly 7 year old chickens Mabel and Mildred while Franklin crowed nearby. The eggs tell their own sweet story of resurrection and rebirth. You never know what beauty is just around the next corner they seem to say. Those old ladies just do not give up. And neither will any of us.
Neither will we….