Spring may be fêted with pastel bunnies and pale eggs in the Hallmark and Nestle worlds, but Vermont’s spring must be brutally strong to break winter’s back.
Thaw, and the ice pounds back. Melt, and freeze steals into the night.
The hardest I’ve ever worked in my life is sugaring season. When my younger daughter was two, I remember lying with her under the skylight over our bed, completely spent, reading Louse Gluck’s poem in The New Yorker. I had little time for reading in that season, and this poem always reminds me of this season’s pithiness, the stubborn desire to press on through mud and ice, toward the blossom season.
The sea doesn’t change as the earth changes; it doesn’t lie. You ask the sea, what can you promise me and it speaks the truth; it says erasure…
Nothing can be forced to live.The earth is like a drug now, like a voice from far away, a lover or master. In the end, you do what the voice tells you. It says forget, you forget. It says begin again, you begin again.
From March by Louise Gluck
My daughter texts me at work: My car is stuck in the mud.
Snap, I think. I continue what I’m doing, thinking my girl can likely solve whatever she’s gotten into now. It’s the last day of February, 2018, a day so warm I’ve propped open the library door. The lilies are pushing up around the school, and I step outside with a patron to watch a woolly bear inching its way across the walk.
My daughter, laughing, calls me and tells me she could no longer drive her little Toyota on a muddy road. I just stopped! In her nice Danskos, she stayed in her car, surrounded by glistening mud. The town road crew, working nearby, asked if she was going to move, and she explained her predicament. The road commissioner had her slip over to the passenger seat. He floored her car, drove it free, and suggested she might want to stay off that stretch of road.
….I, who so often used to wish to float free
of earth, now with all my being want to stay,
to climb with you on other evenings to this stone,
maybe finding a bear, or a coyote, like
the one who, at dusk, a week ago, passed
in his scissorish gait ten feet from where we sat—
this earth we attach ourselves to so fiercely….
— Galway Kinnell