I left this morning with frost on my windshield — but spring is catching up.
By the time I got to Manchester (Vermont, nearly an hour and a half north), the day had become mild enough that Andrew and I walked from the Journal office of the cafe at Northshire Books, where we sat over coffee talking about the next month’s stories — wildflower walks, farmers markets, Memorial Day?
By the time I got to Bennington, to meet Jack McManus walking up the sidewalk to the Banner, I had taken off my coat. And an hour later, in Williamstown, I was driving with the windows down.
In fact, the afternoon felt warm — in the full sun almost too warm. I walked down Southworth Street, looking for the house the college has lent to the volunteers sorting books for the Williamstown library’s annual book sale, thinking I’d stepped into the wrong season.
It’s easy to feel that way right now. We’re collecting events for our summer calendar. The season is heating up around me, my inbox is full of plans involving Chinese bronze sculptures and Hong Kong dance companies, and we’re planning stories into late May. The temperature tonight may fall back to freezing, but I’m halfway into apple blossom time.
Good, I can hear some people saying — but I would say hold on. I love the anticipation this time of year. I love the announcements of John steinbeck plays running around the region and concerts and films and new plays. But I also love spring. The first green leaves above the mud in the park, the pussy willow buds, the way the trees seem to glow in the late afternoons, the crocuses … I love the early spring as much as I love the late spring. And I don’t want to miss it.
So this evening, when I’d checked out our spacious North adams office and made a phone call to a generous local composer (staying at an artists’ colony in Virginia right now and looking out the window at cows as he considers saxophones), I went for a walk on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail along Cheshire Lake.
The ice is about half out of the lake. A thin sheet still floats over the deep water, and two mallard ducks walked over the surface. Canada geese called across the water. About halfway along the walk, standing by a blowing white pine tree, I could look out along the line where the wind over the water whipped the edge of the ice into fragments.
I missed photographing the duck landing on the water, kicking up spray, and the two unicyclers who passed me just as I reached the end of the walk, as the sun was sinking toward the ridge.
But against the bank, the wind kicking waves across the water had driven a drift of ice. A small and scrabbling and determined person with a camera who didn’t much care about the state of her trousers could scramble down far enough to see the late evening sun through the ice sheets.