Mar 19 2009

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Cold Mud

Posted at 4:00 pm under Blog Post

Through binoculars I watched a robin singing the other day.  It was the first robin I’d seen or heard this year so it was quite a treat.  My neighbors must have thought I was crazy.  I stood in my back yard at sundown, in flip-flops and a t-shirt despite a chill in the air and the spongy, cold mud beneath my feet.  And in that moment I accepted the obvious:  Spring has come early to Vermont this year.

The birds are back, the remnant snow pile in my front yard has melted away, and the first green shoots of day lilies have broken ground.  More to the point, the sun has been burning brightly through a clear sky for days now, warming up the earth – a long, warm sun, rising an hour after I do in the morning and setting well after dinner.  Such a welcome surprise.  Until that robin appeared, I had been waiting for the next winter storm to bury me in snow.  Am glad to be wrong about that.

For several days running now, Matika and I have been going for long walks.  Judy joined us for one at the beginning of the week, just as the last of the snow was melting from the Rail Trail.  Second day out, I tramped through the woods until my shirt was drenched in sweat.  Atop Aldis Hill, I bent down and grabbed a handful of cold mud just to remind myself what the earth feels like.  It was a handful of joy, pure and simple.

Some folks don’t think it’s spring until the wildflowers bloom in May.  Others grumble until the air temperatures are in the 60s or 70s.  Still others wait impatiently for summer.  I relish each and every day of this, the earth’s great awakening, often leaving my house with binoculars in hand.  I pull on hiking boots whenever I can.  I love sinking into cold mud as I hike and don’t mind the rain when it comes.  Early spring is more gray and brown than green, but that’s all right by me.  My dog, Matika, agrees.  Rain or shine, it’s all good.  And every day another harbinger of spring comes, mocking the bleakness.

After winter’s long sigh, the spring breeze is a godsend.  I feel a sudden surge of happiness as a grackle pulls a worm from the ground.  I didn’t know they ate worms – either that or I forgot.  What other small surprises await me this season?  What other forgotten pleasures will I soon enjoy?

The pursuit of happiness is a fool’s game, I realize.  Happiness usually comes when we least expect it, in commonplace settings, mostly from inconsequential things.  But I’ll be on the lookout for it this spring all the same – the season of renewal rarely disappointing in that regard.  Yeah, it’s all good, if you are as partial to cold mud as I am.  This season is chock full of it.

One response so far

One Response to “Cold Mud”

  1. RDon 26 Mar 2009 at 7:55 am 1

    nice post walt…the earth’s great awakening. No matter where you are – in a city where nearly everything is paved, or in the deep woods – finding those little signs of the awakening are a pleasure.