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!