Around the October Country Inn, it seems like it happened in a matter of a week or so. The trees were bare, the ground was covered in snow, and you’d want to have a jacket and hat on when outside. Then the sun came out for a couple of days. Snow on south-facing slopes began to recede. The Ottauquechee River level began to rise, and start to run in a serious white-water kind of way. Smoke began to pour from local sugar houses around the clock. Then the robins show up. All the signs are here. Spring has come to our little corner of Vermont.
This is a quiet time of year. Many call it “mud season,” as if to warn away downcountry visitors. We, however, understand that we are about to witness one of mother nature’s truly remarkable transformations. There will be a rebirth. Look closely. Bare limbs of trees and bushes push out new shoots and buds that will burst into flower and leaf. Weird looking mushrooms, and tiny green sprouts push aside the cover of last fall’s mulch of leaves. Overhead, honking geese fly north. You have to take the bird feeders down for a month or so because bears are awake and they are hungry.
It’s not like we have been shut-ins all winter long. We enjoy winter, and look forward to the special kinds of activities having to do with snow. But, when spring comes, it feels like we’ve been shut in all winter. All of a sudden we just can’t wait to get outside. Go for a walk without putting on the snowshoes. It also kickstarts a new round of chores. We have to get and stack a couple of cords of firewood so that it will be dry for next winter. Change out the storm windows for screens. Put up the rain gutters. Before you know it the grass will need to be cut, the cover will have to come off the pool, and patio furniture and shade umbrellas will need to be set out. We better get busy, but there’s really no hurry.