November 4, 2013

stick season

When I was little, probably not much older than Evie is now, I wrote an essay or a poem or a story on Seattle. I remember this because in my poem/story/essay I said that Seattle had only one season, gray, and someone told me that that wasn't a very nice thing to say. I wasn't trying to be rude, it was more of  a poetic observation. I'd only been to the city a few times and it had always seemed gray when we were visiting. I thought it was kind of romantic, to be honest.

It's not true, of course. Seattle, and Portland do not have one season. They have two. Raining, and Not Raining. The Not Raining season being so spectacular that it makes up for the much longer Raining season. And thank goodness.

Vermont is the complete opposite. Instead of two season, or four, we have six. And I'm pretty sure that anyone who live here, or in New Hampshire, and probably Maine and parts of Massachutses and New York, would agree. We have summer and spring and winter and fall, and then we have two more - mud season and stick season. They are the inbetween season. The not quite one and not quite the other seasons. Mud season streches for the weeks when the snow has gone but spring has not quite sprung. And stick season, where we are now, falls after the leaves but before the snow.

Sometimes I think they are trail run seasons. Nature saying "Are you ready? Are you? You don't seem quite ready, how about a few days of frigid weather and then a few balmy ones to kick you into action on all those winter chores." And so we do. Chop a little more wood, clean up fallen trees after a storm, stuff steel wool and then insulation into crevices to keep the mice and the wind out. And then sit around the woodstove and enjoy the stark light and the snugly animals and children.

In the cold and wind this weekend we finished shingling the new room. Stiff fingers dropping nails all over the place, dashing inside for tea and to warm up by the fire before heading out again. There is still more to do, finishing touches. Paint and stain, if we get a few more warm days, trim and edging along the porch, drywall tape and mud and paint on the inside. But the big job is done. I think it makes the house look more balanced, as though it was always meant to be this way.

We still have a few more weekends, probably, to finish up the out of doors work before we move in and switch modes to winter. There are places that still need insulation, and more down logs after a big storm that need to be cleared. And the chickens need to be moved and the bees need to be wrapped to give them their best chance of survival over the winter.

The cold is coming. Although I enjoy stick season, enjoy spotting houses and views that are hidden when the trees are leafed out, I'm looking forward to the snow. But not yet. I'm not quite ready yet.