We’re in full mud season here in the north country. For those unfamiliar with frozen ground, let me explain.
Somewhere between the middle and end of December, the cold temps freeze the top few inches of ground. Depending on the snow cover and the depth and duration of the cold, this freezing can reach anywhere from four to twelve inches below the surface on which we walk.
It keeps everything stable—until March when you can feel the sun flexing its muscles.
Now this doesn’t mean that all of the frozen stuff automatically thaws all at the same time. Oh no. As the sun licks the surface of the ground, the water frozen in the earth melts—but only in the top two inches or so.
Below that, it’s still ice. And this combination makes quagmires out of all the dirt roads around here, and it pushes up the surface of the asphalt roads, making them all look like they’ve got quite the case of goose bumps.
Driving anywhere, even on the interstates, becomes a challenge.
But out in the gardens, there are certain plants just waiting for these longer days. In my plot of land, it’s the snowdrops that push up first. They are always a welcome sight. But this year, their diminutive sweetness is tinged with a bit of melancholy because their woodland companions, the wild leeks, will not be with us this year. The floodwaters from Irene covered them all with three feet of silt.
So spring feels a bit dicey to me.