Apr 09 2014

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Cold Mud

Posted at 5:14 am under Blog Post

cold mudSpring has arrived at long last. Migrating birds are returning, tree buds are swelling as the sap runs, and rain has replaced snowfall. The sump pump in my basement runs constantly, overwhelmed by snowmelt. Throughout the Champlain Valley, the ground is being exposed everywhere the sun can reach it. But a cool mist shrouds wooded places where snow lingers. Even with temps rising into the 50s at midday, the forest still feels like a refrigerator.

I went for a hike yesterday wanting nothing more than to lay tracks in cold mud. Disappointed by the snowpack I found in deeper woods, I ended up on Aldis Hill where a south-facing slope was more brown than white. Halfway up the slope, I slipped and fell. The ground remains frozen beneath a couple inches of raw earth. It’s been a long, cold winter.

I wandered about the hilltop, soon leaving the trail, gravitating towards open patches of bleached forest duff. When forced to tramp through snow, I left muddy tracks in it, often punching through to wet ground beneath. So it goes this time of year.

While sitting on a rocky outcrop completely free of snow, I contemplated the passage of time. At 58 I have seen a lot of winters come and go. Yet there is something about April that always feels brand new, as if the world was just created and I just happen to be here for the great awakening.

On the way back down the steep slope, I slipped and fell again, soaking myself good. I soiled my clothes in the process but it didn’t matter. Wallowing in the rawness of the season. A muddy baptism.



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