by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
May 22, 2008
JOY OF THE SEASON
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Up here in the woods, it's hard getting to the mailbox in the winter. I have to put on a sweater, hat, boots and gloves. I have to take a key, in case the wind blows the door shut and it accidentally locks. Often the driveway gets so icy that I can't walk down to get the paper.
It's such a hopeful sign when I can go down in my slippers.
After coming through winter - and wasn't this a particularly long and trying one? - it's wonderful to feel the season change.
After the snow melts, we feel a need to come out and share our war stories; it's the first sign that cabin fever is ending. How many times did your car get stuck? How many times did the plow guy have to come? How many times were you sick with some awful flu?
Then comes April and trout season, and the thought of fresh brookies frying up in a pan with butter.
Then comes May. The sun is higher in the sky, and daylight comes earlier. With the light comes the songbirds. Iridescent ruby-throated hummingbirds now dive and dance around the feeders, and we are trying everything we can to keep a stunning but lovesick male goldfinch from batting his beak against our front window until his brain explodes; he sees his image in the glass and wants to attack it and defend his love. Not even shrouding the window with a towel can keep him away.
(Sometimes I know just how he feels.)
May is when the perennial swappers start another season, the greenhouses put out their flats and Agway's parking lot gets filled on Saturdays. The daffodils on the hill now are shriveled little yellow things, but who can be sad? The tulips are up and the lilac trees are in full bloom. I've been planting corn. Once again, I've bought too many tomato plants. I'm begging a friend for a taste from her asparagus patch.
In May we begin the season of joining together. The opening day of the Farmers' Market is followed by the opening day of the flea market. We greet people we haven't seen all year. We notice how pale everyone is. And how much older we all look.
Suddenly, almost before we start thinking of spring, we're looking forward to summer. Soon the Heifers will be strolling down Main Street in Brattleboro and the Fred Eaglesmith Festival will be starting up in Bellows Falls. We'll have graduations and alumni events and chicken barbecues and crafts fairs, and - way too soon - we'll be sitting in the grass in Grafton on the Fourth of July, watching fireworks and listening to the 1812 Overture.
Then it's August, and we'll be complaining about how hot it is as we drive over to Saratoga to make some equine investments.
Soon September will come, and we'll be stacking wood and harvesting the garden - or at least the part of it that the deer and raccoons left over for us. The hunting season will start. We'll be thinking about apples and the Dummerston Apple Pie Festival.
Then the leaves will start coming off the trees, and we'll be looking nervously at the sky and paying attention to the weather forecasts. A new year of seasons will begin.
Vermont only has four or five months of good weather - during the other months, good weather is a welcome but unexpected bonus. Now is the season of beginnings - the first church supper, the first Morris dancer, the first peony, the first strawberries, the first weeds.
We look forward to these things and treasure them because we know how fleeting they all are.
This is the joy of being in Vermont. It's why we want to be here, and why we're willing to put up with so much in the way of bad weather and low pay to stay here.
This is the season of celebration and congregation. Enjoy!
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at email@example.com.