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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Comes to the Northlands

Yes, it does. Every year, in its own time. That is not the time of the calendar, nor, really, of the sun. Not of man (or woman, for that matter) for sure... but it comes. Every year.

It comes first with the rising of the sap and the tapping of the maples. Buckets and taps and snowshoes for some, and lines of tubing for others, running down hill to the gathering spot. And fires in the sugaring house, cooking down the thin sweet sap into honey colored syrup for pancakes and waffles... and flavoring bowls of snow, scooped up from early spring snows.

For yes, it does snow in the spring, here in the Northlands. Most years, it does so more than once, even as the temperatures rise and the ice and old snow pack from winter storms (hopefully) slowly melt and find the aquifer and flow gently into the awakening creeks and rivers. We won't see "ice out" of many rivers and lakes for some time yet, though most of the ice fishing shacks have been removed. Better safe than sorry, though each year someone misjudges the strength of the ice and puts their snowmobile (sled to most folks) or pickup into the water.

Even in the years when spring comes earlier, many folks have been calling it for weeks. But for folks like me, who are here because we chose to be, or need to be to feel our spirits to be whole, the wheel turns in its own time and we do our best to stay in sync.

I am not sure if I will have leggy and overgrown seedlings this year or not. It's always a gamble... farming itself is always a gamble, after all... if the soil texture and temperature, the air and the winds, rain and sun, will cooperate to bring actual transplanting dates in line with the guesstimated dates upon which we base our seed starting. But as the sun moves north along its path, giving us longer days, we move -- sometimes imperceptibly -- into the days of spring, with green things spouting on the growing racks, a change in the altar... and early spring snows (like today) to add to the ground water.

Soon everyone will know spring is on its way, but for now, be open to the more subtle signs. They are out there.