Vestibule

33It’s 46℉ and foggy this morning. It looks and feels like March, my favorite season of the year. November and March are a season unto themselves—the vestibule between fall and winter, winter and spring. The mudroom where you keep your rubber boots because this is the season when you’re going to need them. I call these times the Mud Season.

March mud has the voice of spring, the smell of the struggle to crack the shell of winter. One morning you realize you’re hearing red-winged blackbirds. Hundreds of them. They say, Hey, I’m back! Winter’s over! And then another snowstorm hits. blackbirdBut they hang out in the trees and say, I’m still here! Winter really is over! Promise!

Pretty soon I see green shoots coming up through the mud, and I take a million pictures of them even though they look the same every spring and they’re not really all that interesting in a photo. shoots upBut the mud, the birds, the green shoots! I’m still here!

———

November mud is about closing down for the season. The decaying fall underfoot smells like an old root cellar with a few apples still in it. Dark, clammy, a little haunting.

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The wetlands out back turn into flat fields of dried out goldenrod, packed down by early winter snow and deer. The red-winged blackbirds leave. The ticks go into hibernation, so we can take the dog for a run in the now frozen wetlands and lose a few more tennis balls under the bracken. We go through a lot of tennis balls in the winter. Sometimes we find them again in the spring.

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