mud season

Can we tell?  Does this scene take place in winter?  Or in mud season?

side yard snowy 2

The pulp trucks make havoc of roads at this time of year.  You see signs posted:  “heavy loads limited.”  And warnings:  “frost heaves.”  “Bumps.”



Up there on the hill a muddy road turned off my right shoulder, its own shoulders soft and frosted with snow.  I followed till I came to the gravelly drive, caked with thin whiteness.  We followed, the dog and I.

There I became aware of the track of the deer, dainty.  The heart-shape in white, edged in soft melt.  Carefully I placed my feet over them and ground out each print.  Erased each shapely heart.

The black dog followed and wove a dog track back and forth over our tracks, the deer’s and mine.  At times he stopped to sniff them.  The dog is clean and brushed, clipped.  He has had a bath and been de-tagged.  All his matted clumps are gone.  Brambles no longer trail from his behind.  But he is going blind.

We tromped down toward the rounded slope of the ridge, coming into the open from the trees.  So the view opened wide on the mountains of the next town, spreading in patches of muted dark green, gray and brown; sifted with faint touches of white.  Massive mountains seemed immortal, set forever beneath the restless moving sky.  I stood staring while the wind roamed on high, whistling.  Then I looked down, turned around, searching for more tracks to squash.


It’s said there are only two seasons here, as in parts of Canada.  But it’s more like three.  Winter, mud season, and The July.  Spring, if it comes, rushes past, sometimes a flying cold.  If it comes?  But there was that time, found in documents and books in Maine’s local histories, when there was even no July.  1816, I think it was.  “The year with no summer.”

(I took the picture holding the camera out the study window yesterday.)

Year Without a Summer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4 responses

    • thank you! bit of a trickster in this question–is it a winter or mud season scene? the scene pictured in the image is current mud season. the verbal scene is early winter from a couple decades ago. in it i’m squashing deer tracks so hunters won’t see them, iirc.


  1. We had snow as well, but not this much! It fell right after I’d been enjoying all the little snowdrops in the lawn…

    I had heard about the year without a summer, but the Wikipedia entry and the local-history page gave me many details I’d never known—like that you could see sunspots on the sun (whoa).

    And all this is totally beyond our control (meaning: volcanic eruption). I fear famines–the thought of them has terrified me since childhood, though I’ve never wanted for food.


    • glad you comment on it! i first learned of this from the family archives at washburn-norlands. iirc, someone (telling it in the washburn journal) reported anger over a broken beaver hat brim–so cold was it outside. …but fear not! that’s what deer are for. and…in the event…they might be a glad sacrifice, who knows?

      PS. check out my comment to sartorias here if you get a chance?


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