The technical term, I know, is \”January thaw.\” But what\’s happened here today goes beyond that. In less than 24 hours, the landscape has gone from pristine white to horrid brown. The skies have opened and let down tropical–well, almost–downpours. Weird warm winds have blown and the snow has disappeared, replaced by mud. Dirt roads and driveways (the majority of Vermont\’s roads are dirt, and we\’re fighting to keep them that way) have become brown rivers. And below it all is that stubborn layer of ice, growing thinner but no less treacherous by the minute.
Our backyard is one of Dante\’s circles of Hell. You think I exaggerate? Picture mud, and dirty snow, and places where the water is up to your ankles, and deadly hidden ice, and a winter\’s worth of dog poop.
The hens went outside for the first time in months today. When I gather the eggs tonight they will be smeared with mud from the hens\’ feet.
If this were March, we could look forward to warm sunshine, and less snow, and the end of mud season. But that is a long way away.
The good news is that tomorrow it will freeze again, hardening the mud so it doesn\’t get tracked all over the house, and it will snow, covering up the dog poop and other yuckies. Mud season without the consolations of spring is an abomination, and I for one will welcome the return of winter.