In the 25+ years since I moved to the mountains from the Mid-Atlantic, I’ve seen my share of May snowfalls, the latest recorded–May 18th–which would have been the year we lived on Ames Hill in the one bedroom fishbowl apartment, with the floor to cathedral ceiling windows, which was just after my youngest was born. (That place had a great kitchen, small but so functional.) He’s 18 now.
This May, however, is the most I’ve seen consecutive snow, flurries mostly, until today, when we’ve risen to a world in white, which was already true earlier this week over on Hogback, with just a little more elevation than us.
I finally got my seeds in this week, a whole lot of work. I stopped when the rain picked up. My fingers were raw. I wonder what the seeds will make of this covering. Or if they won’t.
My son has an Ultimate game this afternoon. Home game. His tournament last weekend upstate was canceled as was the one the weekend before that. Fields flooded. (Those were the last oof his high school tournaments.)
Imagine if this snow was on a Saturday when a bride was planning her spring wedding. We’re heading to one soon. Across country. Forecast calls for high 80s. Flood warnings there through yesterday.
I thought I’d cleanse this month, but instead, I’ve taken to alternating between kitchari and spring greens–and baked goods, chocolate & caffeine. I don’t know what my body will make of this. But I’m learning to rock more and resist less. To let myself be rocked. To surrender the ride.
Potato chips for breakfast.
I’ve always been annoyed with those who wear winter gear in late spring or worse yet– light their woodstove!
It is particularly important in Vermont that we hold the season accountable.
For me this has always meant, a light spring-like wardrobe, including opened toed shoes, as well as open windows. If it’s really cold, put on a heavy sweatshirt but by no means where a winter hat or coat. Use a space heater. No smoke!
Was it especially cold this year or have I suddenly joined the ranks of the aged?
I suspect the latter but hope for the former.
A post from May 10th:
The windows are up. The heater is on. I’m wearing a hat & a fleece vest. My fingers are cold. And so, when I pass a flowering tree, it’s more like ooooh, aaaaah, Christmas-light happy, instead of that rapturous, unleashing into the sweet caress of SpRing.
And also this confession:
The weekend before last, I went to the movies in my winter jacket wearing wool socks and closed toe shoes, and I wouldn’t let my husband break down the woodstove.
It’s still chilly in the mountains, but spring has tiptoed into our hearts at this most feminine time of year… the delicate unfolding of leaf, the first flowering, the bird song. The Maiden.
Meanwhile, on this Mothers Day weekend, I find myself fuming about how much space men take up. The motorcycles without mufflers. The gunshot. The music blaring from the truck. Toplessness! Callous conversation!
How much space do men need?
Does it not occur to them to share?
“I’ve downloaded the Mueller Report,” one announces from the table next to mine. I look up from my book. He and his friends are dressed in leather, sipping coffees.
“He’s a grown child,” the man continues, referencing #45. “He’s never had to work with anyone. It’s always been his way.”
“And he’s used to getting it any way he can,” I might have added, but they weren’t talking to me.
The topic shifted to the Vermont countryside and the route they might or might not take next. “100 or 8,” one suggested.
“It’s a pretty area,” the woman agreed, “but I get to do more sightseeing then you two do.”
“Relaxed attention,” the other man said.
“It’s true,” said the one with the Mueller Report. “I can’t look around much during the week either when I’m driving the truck.”
“It’s the same for me and the bus,” said the other man. “All those little kids on it.”
I had to give it to it. It sure was pretty.
And still, I would have left town if I wasn’t leading a retreat that night–guiding women (and let’s face it–myself) from the turning point of Autumn, sparse & bare, the darkness unending, to the certainty of Spring, not on the calendar but on the land–and upon waking somewhere south of these mountains, I would have missed the beauty, the soft, soothing motion, the outline of branch and stone and fencepost.
I want to reach back in time and offer this to Virginia Woolf, who filled her pockets with stones and headed toward the river.
No decision should be finalized in March.
An April snow. Mild to moderate despair. And one more day for the more introverted among us to retreat before the joy & productivity of SpRinG forces us, like a bulb, to open into the world, giddy, with delight.
Turkeys kept being on sale after the holidays, and so each month I was forced to buy another to offset the cost of that original local, organic splurge which I justified on account of my mother’s Christmas birthday.
In the New Year, we roasted a second turkey and ate it every day for an entire week. Turkey stew. Turkey curry. Turkey pot pie. Turkey soup with rice. Turkey sandwiches and salad. In February, another for my sister and her family when they were visiting from the shore. In March, one last twenty-five pounder with my son and his girlfriend. Twice, this winter we sent them back to Burlington with leftovers.
And still, the freezer grew crowded with tubs of broth and bags of meat, until we said, despite the sale continuing into April: No more!
But today, while looking out at another April snow, I defrosted ingredients for soup, and once the pot was warming over the stove, the aroma overtook me, like a time machine, standing beside my mother as she dropped egg noodles into the broth.
Maybe I’ll set out an extra bowl.
Spring comes slowly to the mountains, and sometimes, seemingly, not at all.
all those many weeks with a stick-filled horizon against muted skies.
patches of snow holding claim to the ground.
But there is a gift in all this waiting–
the fine-tuning of attention
Where magic resides…
That first stencil of leaf
In golden hues
“Nature’s first green.”
And it is the poet,
inside each us, who is awakened
by these subtle shades of hope.
Little by little, and sometimes, seemingly,
“in great leaps,”
the land awakens in a chorus of color.
Which is almost true in the valley, with
its daffodils & dandelions, but not yet
on the mountaintop.
Here the seduction is slower,
Maple buds up the driveway
Spreads of greening across the lawn
The first violets
The return of the chives
The lady’s mantle whose leaves have opened
the morning dew.