How I would hate to reside in a place with no seasons. My older brother, who has lived in Alaska for more than 20 years, was once offered a job in Hawaii. At the time he had been working on the pipeline and was located not far from the Arctic Circle. He snapped the job up, thinking that it would be wonderful to be warm… all the time.
After two years he fled back to Alaska because he couldn’t stand the boredom of non-stop tropical temperatures. “The damn birds never shut up,” he said with horror.
And here we are moving ever so slowly into the most tantalizing time of the year in Vermont: Spring!!
Yesterday my husband shoveled off a patch in the back yard where we then dragged our lawn chairs and sipped cups of steaming hot tea. We listened to the sounds that announce the change in the seasons is not far off: the dripping of melting icicles, the barest trickle as the brook struggles under the weight of ice, an influx of happy birds, and the growl of the compressor down that road that’s trying to suck a little early sap from the trees.
My husband mused that he might try to rent a flame thrower to speed up the process of snow melting.
Inside the house there’s the booming of huge blocks of ice crashing down as they finally give up their last grip on the roof. The sound, not unlike the noise of something breaking the sound barrier in your front yard, makes me jump out of my skin. Our cat flies into the air in sheer terror and then glares at us accusingly. This is a cat who rides a roaring vacuum cleaner without batting a whisker.
One sure sign is when the spider (I’m sure it’s the same one) appears in the bathtub. Not that I care to share my bathing with him, but he is a sign that things are struggling back to life. I carefully shoo him back down the drain whenever I want some tub time. He always comes back.
I yearn for the day when we wake up and say, “I didn’t hear the furnace go on all night.” I’m anxious to turn off the loudly humming humidifier. The woodpile shrinks each day as does the ice cap covering our yard.
Each year I record the day the last patch of snow is missing from the very shady spot behind our garage. It seems no matter how much or little snow we have had during the year, that piece makes its exit somewhere around May 5.
Off course there will be mud. But it’s a small price to pay.
We live on a paved road, thanks to a moment of brilliance on my part when we were first house hunting in this area. A blacktop road and a short driveway were things my years of growing up in Vermont had taught me to cherish.
I find that at this time of year what I resent most of all is my winter clothing. I’m sick of layering. Like a petulant child, I don’t want to wear boots anymore. They’re heavy and clumsy and I’ll take my chances navigating the icy driveway these next few weeks. I don’t want to wear a hat and I’m sick of trying to shift the car with big, thick mittens on. I want to wear a T-shirt and shorts, and flip-flops on my feet.
My Alaska brother is going on a Caribbean cruise next week. Just for a few days; that’s all he needs. He’ll lie on the deck and soak up massive quantities of sun. Then, restored, he’ll return to his beloved Alaska ready to face the last few weeks of winter. The days get longer very quickly up there and he’ll prepare to greet the spring season with open arms.
So will I.