A Listener Essay To Welcome The Spring
Martha Holmes is a writer living with four chickens, four cats, two horses, one dog and one husband, in Gallatin, NY.
At last I can shout it from the highest hill: hello mud!! You have to go through mud to get from winter to spring, so let’s be nice to mud.
Thanks to mud, the snow is in retreat, shrinking into little white islands that polka-dot the land. Trickling down the hills, cutting troughs across the roads, muddy water burbles joyously, and the rivers swell. Icicles that hung four-foot-long from the gutters all winter have fallen to the ground in shards and turned to puddles, having made their point: this was a whopper of a winter.
For months the driveway was like a luge run, a slick of ice in a world of snow that prevented friends from visiting even as the need for them grew greater. Isolation became a plague for those of us living beyond the towns. A journey to the grocery store brought forth familiar faces, more nourishing than a cartful of food. The cold and wind blew us back into our woolens whenever we attempted to go out among the snow dunes. What a season. Those of us who’ve complained that recent winters didn’t have enough snow can sit down and shut up now.
For now there is mud! The sun warms our upturned faces and hope returns at last. It’s as though somebody just threw the switch: Winter, off. Spring, on. The rising daffodils point their green fingers toward the sky and signal the direction for all things. Up.
And up is possible now, thanks to mud. Driving up our hill is like climbing a chocolate cake with hands tied. Even in four-wheel drive, I fishtail through the pudding all the way to the top, where I sink into a foot of muck. Splatter from the ascent covers the windows and throws wing-shapes all along both sides.
I stand and stare. There is not supposed to be a stream at the top of our hill, but this one is starting to brag, merrily dancing down to the valley, taking a lot of our hill with it. There’s a sucking sound with each step as I pick my way toward the house, as though the earth were snacking on my boots.
The floor inside is proof of every step my boots take through that determined mud. Clump clump clump. And once the clumps have dried and broken, they will spread like a layer of silt throughout the house, proof that as we are enjoying moving outside, the outside is enjoying moving in.