...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

11 March, 2012

ice out!

We call it "Mud Season' here in Maine.

The frost starts to leave the ground.
The snow melts into the earth (though not so much this year--
due to the absence of snow).
Everything is squishy underfoot.

But here, that is mostly a good thing.
A welcome harbinger of winter's end.

Robins and Cardinals are back--the Robins in flocks
digging in said squish, looking for food;
The Cardinals at the top of trees, singing their hearts out--
looking for love.

Our rivers become unlocked.
On the bigger rivers, the Coast Guard sends ice-breaking ships
upstream to reduce the risk of ice jams and flooding
as snow and ice begin to melt.

Remember the ice fishing shanties of yesteryear?
They'd better be GONE by now.

In inlets on the shore, there are chunks of ice
that are losing shape and substance.

In many places near the coast, where the river water is 
a tiny bit salty from the daily tides pushing in,
the rivers are running free.

In some places they roar.

***    ***   ***

Meanwhile, back on land, where we all sort of squish as we go,
local roads can take a beating.

Just beneath the pavement is an ever shifting bed of wet earth.
 Potholes abound as pieces of asphalt let go.
Frost heaves appear as humps or dips across the road surface 
from shoulder to shoulder.
In these parts, you know they are coming because the road crews
spend March putting up signs along the roadside
that simply say, "BUMP".

Slowing your speed is a good idea in their vicinity
...if you value your car, that is.

Rural roads are the most susceptible to damage.
Therefore, my favorite harbinger of spring
appears in early March
as if dispersed by elves in the middle of the night.

My camera didn't pick up the fine print on the orange sign.
Without special permission, loads over a certain weight
are not permitted on rural roads until 
the ground solidifies again.

One fine morning, after a night-long serenade of peepers,
these orange signs will have completely disappeared.
(Same elves, same wonderful magic message.) 

But that is ahead of us by several weeks.

Happy Daylight Savings time, everyone!


  1. Mike,glad things are turning! Isthatwhy they call it Spring, cause the ground is springy! It's muddy here to! Every thing is sodden wet. The water table is up tithe surface and everything needs a good drying out. We've had 115 mmof rain already this month. More to come I understand. Ah spring, a little late here this year!

    1. On this side of the continent, it is early! We usually are up to our ankles (at least) in snow til April sometime. The birds know, though, don't they? And they manage to pull us through. ;o)

  2. i enjoyed your views of springtime in your area. :)

    1. Thanks, Theresa. I'm glad I brought you a little piece of Maine. You always do such a nice job of bringing me views of your Texas! ;o)

  3. So interesting for me (in California) to see how you live on the other coast:))

    1. Thanks, Christie. Just like it's always so interesting for me to see what's going on in your classroom each week! ;o)

  4. And for me on the other side of the pond! Spring means something very different when you have so much snow and ice to get rid of first! But the damage to roads it causes is the same over here, sadly.

    1. Thanks for your visit, Perpetua. Always so nice to hear from you in England. Old Jack Frost is a trickster, isn't he? ;o)

  5. Dear Mike,
    With this posting you have captured in words the essence of the shift from winter to spring. Each detail you gave is part of that ritual. Thank you.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dee! And thanks for your comments. Another part of the ritual: pussywillows! Haven't seen any yet, but I know where they first come out, and I'm headed there tomorrow for a check. (With my boots on--squish, squish....) ;o)

  6. Wonderful, Mike. Your photos are fabulous. I can feel the force of the water and I can also feel the squish of the mud on my feet. Of course, there is the promise of peepers!

    Saw you reply to Dee's comment about the pussywillows. We saw a good swath of them just starting to bloom not far from the peeper pond on Saturday. Soon, very soon . . .

  7. Oh, now that is interesting ~ I guess I never realized that.