Pay no attention to that whooshing sound… it’s yet another flock — a covey? a gaggle? — of missed deadlines and calendar pages swooping by the sunny window overlooking the commons here at Chez Bloggle. The fact that I have a moment to appreciate the sun is wonderful news, save for the accompanying fact that suggests somehow Winter is well on its way to becoming Spring, and with it, another pack (a herd? a fleet? ah!… an embarrassment!) of deadlines. (1)
Ah, well… the warming sun is its own reward.
Lest that little red circle ’round the 20th of March on your calendar lead you astray, I should remind you that here in Vermont things don’t really begin to green up in earnest ’til Memorial Day or so. Meanwhile we have other seasons to celebrate.
Firstly, there’s Mud Season. I’ve heard more than a few thrilling tales — matter of fact, their telling is something of an art around here — of folk who’ve found themselves hip-deep in goo following a February thaw, where melting snow, ice and ground frost conspire to entrap the unwary in muddy ruts where even the most sure-footed four wheeled tow trucks daren’t plant their rugged tread. Oh, sure… you on your fancy pavement may not suffer such indignities, but the greater share of roads in Vermont remain — yes, even in the 21st century — little more than gravel-sprinkled plowed ground. ‘Course, from where I sit, while the roads may be tricky there’s few challenges to compare to the marathon scrub-a-dub session when the pooch bounds after a bunny, and instead bags a bog. Whoof.
The other season of note is, of course, Sugaring Season. To those among you who have never experienced the singular sensation that is Vermont maple syrup, my deepest sympathies… more so if your only experience of nature’s perfect pancake topping is some phony caramel-colored corn syrup pretender.
Real maple syrup is the product of a hard work, and — like telling tall, muddy tales — in Vermont it’s an art-form, a past-time, and for some, a way of life. It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make a single gallon of syrup… and, because the sap is at its very best still fresh and cold from the tap, you’ll find the evaporators at sugar houses boiling away all night long. Looking for a sugar house? Follow the billowing plume of steam… and at its end you’ll find a hard-working Vermonter, who will probably be more than happy to share a sample of his amber-hued product, and maybe a shot of bourbon, besides.
Only in Vermont…
(1) While there are oodles of imaginative collective nouns for most everything from an exaltation of larks to a fright of ghosts, there appears to be no collective for deadlines… which strikes me as an opportunity for some suitable coinage.