Mud Season: Vermont's Version of Spring
Sunday, February 28, 2016
The light in Vermont noticeably changes around groundhog day, giving a hint of warming sun and longer days in the months ahead. Things really change at the end of February and beginning of March: Vermont's fifth season known as Mud Season arrives. While the nighttime temperature will fall below freezing (or even below 0 fahrenheit), the daytime sun is strong enough to thaw the snow and ice and create the muddy roads for which this time of year is named. It is at this time that the maple trees begin to wake up as the sap runs up to their branches in the warm days and back down to their roots overnight to hide from the cold. There is a very literal sweetness in the air for weeks as sugar shacks continuously boil sap to condense it into maple syrup. Many a local resident will curse the drabness and inconvenience of the muddy weather, but I always feel an intense gratitude as the warmth and light of the sun returns and signals the beginning of the end of winter. This change inspires me to get outside and get active. I will arrive back home tired, sloppy-earth-spattered, but with a much needed lift of my spirits. I know it will continue to snow for weeks, or even months, but with the arrival of the sun and the mud I know I can get through the end of winter. I'd better get outside now before I miss this gift of a day!