If Only

Winter’s End

Spring comes galloping on a week of 60-degree days. And the sun, that old friend. Snow melts, rivers run, the backroads thaw. Sap flows, but the season starts late and looks to finish early, and the talk is that sugarmakers down south have already pulled their taps, having made only a quarter crop. It’s just talk, but still.

I drive rutted roads to pick up loads of sawdust for the cows’ bedding, the same drive I took almost exactly a year ago, the one I wrote about here. How much has changed. How little. The small town I visit frequently is busier than it was a year ago, there’s no lockdown despite surging virus numbers, we all just go about our lives with masks on our faces and bottles of hand sanitizer tucked into the dash cubbies of our cars. Some of us get sick; more of us don’t. Some of us have been vaccinated; more of us haven’t. It’s just the way life is for now.

Yesterday we had rain that turned to snow overnight, and this morning the trees are newly frosted, there’s no sun, and we’re 25 degrees shy of 60. I shovel sawdust into the cows’ paddock, and there’s something about it that excites them; they run fast, short circles and fling sawdust into the air with their wide, wet noses. Later, maybe, I’ll see if I can shore up some electric wire and give them a little more room to roam, but for now I shovel and shovel as they run and fling, their whole world confined by a wood-slat fence they could breach in a heartbeat if only they knew how easy it would be.

7 thoughts on “If Only”

  1. Has mud season arrived, or is it still pending?

    Friends who sugar around the Dorchester, NH, area say that the volume and sugar content of the sap were both lower than usual. They attribute it to the drought that you had last summer stressing the trees. Another reminder of the often rudderless life of anyone who harvests a crop to make a living, playing a perpetual game of chance with Mother Nature and the markets.

    I’ve been watching the temperatures and the associated snow melt at three NH ski areas via their on-line webcams, Cannon Mountain in Franconia, Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, and Gunstock in Gilford. The snow sure does recede quickly when the skies are sunny and the overnight temperatures stay above freezing.

    ‘Hope that you are all well in body, in mind, and filled with GOD’s Holy Spirit at any time, perhaps even more so during these trying times. COVID shots coming soon to anyone who wants them and then, maybe, back to the new normal around August 1st. I wonder how many more people died in 2020 than the yearly average for the previous ten years? With healthcare providers being incented, by higher reimbursement rates, to code that cause of death as COVID, the numbers are unlikely to give us a true picture of its impact.

  2. Love it! No person who hasn’t raised cows – or been around them a lot – would believe that cows play too. Or form close bonds with particular humans or dogs or goats or donkeys they share share their quarters with.

  3. Ben….Sending thanks for this on this Sunday morning putting my day on the right path forward as your writing does. And again, thanks for the photo attending this column.

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