Bumpy roads, unpredictable weather and wet ground that sags beneath your feet. It must be springtime in New England.
Come April, receding snow transforms the landscape into a soft, sloppy mess. New Englanders call this metamorphosis “mud season,” the period of recovery between the long, brutal winter and the warm summer ahead. May brings yet another unofficial mark on the calendar … “bug season.” Blackflies appear generally between Mothers Day and Fathers Day, and were a little ahead of schedule this year – they were swarming around my head last weekend. The blackfly season usually unhappily coincides with trying to get your tomatoes in the garden, among other things, and even though I use bug spray (Ben’s, 98.11% DEET, worth its weight in gold) they can get in your mouth, ears and eyes. As our neighbor Ann Haley said several years ago, “the tourists think we’re waving at them … when really we’re just swatting bugs!”
Leaves are just now beginning to appear on trees (I always think of the crayon “Spring Green” in the Crayola box this time of year) and everything is yellow. Daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom. (Tulips aren’t popular here – critters eat them.) The landscape is coming out of its winter brown and is cheerful and hopeful. After six months of stick-trees, I can’t wait for leaves!