Listening Post: Winter under the hood

Contrary to popular belief, bears don’t wake up grumpy this time of year because they’re hungry. It’s an aesthetic critique. Photo: Beth Taylor, CC some rights reserved

I’m as much a booster of the North Country as any guy you’re gonna meet–a lifer. It’s a beautiful place and I live in a beautiful part of it, halfway between the river and the mountains, on a country road but not too far from town. Winter is spectacular, summer is succulent, fall is sublime. But early spring? Somebody has smacked this land with the ugly stick. The snow cover is mostly gone, but the greening has yet to begin. Welcome to Mudville.

It’s like when you’ve been sick in bed for a few days and stagger to the bathroom for a glass of water. There’s your shocking face in the mirror–stubble, bed hair so bad it could be performance art, red pillow creases striping one cheek, puffy grey eyebags, and every pore a little manhole down into your weary soul. Yikes. My yard looks like one of those Belgian villages caught between the trench lines in WWI.

I know it’ll pass; either the snow will return and bandage the wounds, or new life will start to green up the debris. But in the meantime, we’re just stuck with it. Listen to the geese complaining overhead. They know what I’m talking about.

12 Comments on “Listening Post: Winter under the hood”

  1. Kathy Clarke says:

    You are too funny, Dale. “Good with words…” is an understatement !

  2. Florence says:

    Good description. This time of year things can look sullen. I used to live out in the country but now live in town so the mud aspect is gone, and luckily, I look out on Lake Champlain. Still, I remember mud season well. Over 30 years ago our car literally got stuck in the mud in our driveway.

  3. Cindy Randi says:

    Thank you Dale, for so eloquently expressing my exact sentiments about the North Country in spring.
    This too, shall pass.

  4. Will Hunt says:

    All true Dale, yet the sweet nectar of the maple is flowing, the cats are out and about all day, the horses are shedding and providing lining material for the returning bird’s nests and the sunlight puts a glow in the swelling buds. Mud Season is welcome here in deer River.

  5. Ken Hall says:

    In the 11 years I have been back in the North Country I have only experienced one mud season that even came close to what a normal mud season was like when I lived here as a young-un back in the 50′s and 60′s.

  6. Gary says:

    Nice piece, there is one positive aspect of spring……..more daylight!

  7. Pete Klein says:

    It still looks like winter in Indian Lake with about 18″ of snow on the level.
    This year is pay back for last March.
    There is no such thing as normal weather. There are averages and averages are the result of totaling the extremes, dividing by two and coming up with the average – which some people mistakenly call “normal.”

  8. Claudia MacDonald says:

    And yet, I went out this a.m. in a mid-weight jacket, no hat, gloves or boots! And the light…OMG…it has changed me from a.m. grump to a.m. jump out of bed and let’s go woman. A gift: turning on to Judson St. off of Rt. 310, on the right, a front yard with a batch of colorful chickens, happily munching away on whatever their little beaks could dig out of the ground. Mud season: better than -20 degrees and windy!

  9. Terence says:

    ‘Every pore a little manhole down into your weary soul’… Fantastic!

  10. Eliza says:

    When I visited a North Dakotan one early spring, she told me: “You know what they say — ‘If you’re going to buy a farm in North Dakota, do it in March. It’s never going to look any worse.’” Perfectly applicable to NNY as well.

  11. Laurie says:

    Yeah, man! On my way to work on the day the snow had melted, I briefly considered quitting my job in favor of redeeming empty cans and bottles for a living.

    To Eliza: Great advice!

  12. Tori Thurston says:

    Finally, someone eloquently describes spring in the Adirondacks….still not very pretty though.

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