A few days ago, my husband announced, “All the snow will be gone is six weeks.”
He didn’t literally mean that all the snow would be gone—it’s 3 feet deep in the woods, and much deeper in banks along road edges. Piles will stick around a long time. But he did mean that most of it would be gone and that true winter would be over.
It’s been a long winter. It’s always a long winter in this place, but this year just feels longer. (But perhaps we say that every year.)The snow came in early November and stayed on the ground. December was nice and mild, January average, and February a snowstorm. We’ve received 15 feet of snowfall so far this year, and almost 5 of that came during February alone.
It hasn’t been a bad winter, but it’s impossible not to feel at least a bit of ennui at this time of the year.
Boredom. Restlessness. Listlessness. Cabin fever.
But in 6 weeks, it will all be different. In even just a few weeks we’ll be tapping maple trees and calling it mud season.
Bare ground. Running water. Robins singing. The thaw.
It must be something about this interstitial lull between seasons that pushes me toward seasonal introspection—I have an entire series of posts under the tag “winter never ends” that provides evidence of years of thinking the same thoughts at the same time of year.
Last year at this time, with this question near the top of my mind, I was able to pinpoint the precise moment during which I felt that the switch had flipped and true winter transitioned to the thawing winter beginning of mud season (aka maple season):
I was in the small conference room of my office building, probably on a conference call (and taking advantage of that room being warmer than my frigid office). I found myself looking out the window, watching college students trudge up and down the hill on their way to and from class. It was a nice late winter day, sunshine and temperatures above freezing. And as one young woman walked up the hill, she stopped, dropped her backpack, took off her jacket, and tied it around her waist before continuing on her way up the hill. Winter didn’t end immediately, of course, but that was the start of it.
That hasn’t happened yet this year.