Mud season! Halleluiah
March in Maine. The weather teases with warm sun through the windshield, a warm, sunny day without the knife-cutting wind, eaves dripping with melting snow, a sap bucket hung here and here, a robin, and mud in the driveway! We smile in anticipation only to get slammed the next day with more snow or a "wintry mix” and nights dropping back towards zero.
The days see-saw back and forth, but we know winter is loosing. And, though not exactly ecstatic about it, we know the mud will get deeper. But that means the cold and snow and ice will recede in proportion with the mud ruts.
It’s not that I particularly like mud crusted boots tracking into the house, but I say to myself, “I don’t have to shovel it.” It takes a lot less time and energy to wipe our boots than to shovel paths and drives of snow. I keep my Grampa Roy’s handmade bootjack, made in the 1940s, at my kitchen door. It’s one of my most treasured possessions.
Driving up from Kennebunk the other day, I noticed the trees are already sprouting little buds. Our trees will bud up the next warm day. Each morning now, I fix my cup of coffee and sit down at the lap top, situated where I can look up and out the window into the trees down back, keeping an eye out for the first partridge in the popples.
Little green fingers of the daffodils and crocus are already pushing up from their winter prison, and before we know, the green and yellow season will be upon us: green grass and yellow forsythia, dandelions and daffodils.
Sap buckets will be everywhere and soon I’ll go off on my yearly spring pilgrimage to my favorite sugaring house for bottles of pure amber syrup. (How wonderful were these days on Grampa’s farm up on The Ridge. We had a grove of maples — “The Thousand Trees” — down in the forest. We didn’t have a sugaring house. Grampa sold just the sap. People came with great stainless steel tanks on horse drawn tanks. For our farm use, we had a great "Witches Cauldron” — a huge, cast-iron, "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble"-size cauldron with three iron legs. It sat in the grove, filled with sap bubbling its way to syrup.)
Another good thing about "mud season:" it’s the shortest "season" of all.
Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast. She now lives in Morrill.