Suddenly it's spring. As I write this, birds are singing, the sun is shining, warm breezes are blowing, and there are only a few crusty remnants in sight of the giant snow hills left by the plows.
Spring comes as a huge relief, as if a burden has been lifted. We can relax our shoulders. We will relearn how to open the front door without bracing ourselves for the cold. We see everything in a different light. If we could whistle, we would be whistling a little tune, maybe something by the Beatles.
Here comes the sun, and I say, it's all right, it's all right.
Not that winter's end is a given. By the time this newspaper hits the stands, snow could be pelting down again, especially in Saranac Lake. Who knows, the news trucks could be held up by whiteout conditions in the Cascades as well as the Notch, delaying delivery to Wilmington, Jay and Keene. There could be sleet on the eggs at the Easter egg hunt. But it won't last long. Winter might still get in a last jab or two, but basically, we're home free.
The first week of April I flew from Burlington, Vt., to California to visit my daughter and her husband and their two darling children. (Do you have Facebook? You will not believe how beautiful they are. And smart ...)
Crossing Lake Champlain, the ferry traveled a narrow ribbon of open water that ran through the solid ice covering the lake from Essex, N.Y., to Charlotte, Vt.
It was spring in California, in so far as they have seasons at all. On our walks, my little granddaughter, Emma, homed from flower to flower like a honey bee. The scent of orange and lemon blossoms wafted through the air, and the ripe fruits hung on the trees and fell onto the ground for the gardeners to rake away. Such luxury.
When I returned at week's end, the ferry from Charlotte to Essex was closed because the ice was breaking up. I could see big flows bobbing around in the water, bumping up against the boat. I drove to the bridge from Vergennes to Crown Point under blue skies. You wouldn't have mistaken Vermont for California, but the weather was warm. Spring came to the North Country while I was away, and not a moment too soon, as far as I'm concerned.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting ...
Speaking of ice melting: On my return, I felt compelled to check the ice on the Keene Central School beaver pond, which is euphemistically named Lake Winifred. To earn money toward a trip to the Bahamas, where they will study marine biology, students rigged up the school's large wooden beaver sculpture on the ice, allowing people to place bets on the exact time it will fall through into the water.
On the off chance that the gambling police are reading this, the students just accepted donations; I'm sure it's all perfectly legal.
Yes, entirely aboveboard, unlike other things that have gone down at the school pond over the years, according to legend. I don't think I'm allowed to tell you, even now, about the shenanigans I know of. For those contemplating further mischief, here's a warning: There is at this time a surveillance camera mounted on a tree to document the moment when the beaver falls through the ice. This camera will also capture any attempt by ticket buyers to mess with the beaver in order to make their ice-out estimates come true. Don't do anything in the vicinity of the school pond you wouldn't want everyone to know about, at least until after the ice melts.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here ...
Although it is now late April, we have endured a particularly brutal March. Those of us who have escaped thus far without broken bones, frostbite, flu or gastrointestinal virus can count ourselves lucky. Spring may be late, but this month should bring the birth of fawns, snowshoe hare leverets, fox, pine marten, ermine and mink kits, bear cubs and porcupettes (baby porcupines). We may even see yellow violets, bloodroot flowers and purple trillium. Toads and frogs will sing. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.
And, even though I am missing my own little porcupettes in California, I say: It's all right. It's all right. It's all right ...
Have a good week.