Monday, March 4, 2013

Late Winter: A season all it's own...

The quality of the light in late winter is distinct in my mind. I've felt for a long time that the end of February through early March seems like a season all it's own. It is not spring yet but it doesn't feel like winter anymore. The light is noticeably returning as I can see the time on the clock at 6am without having to turn the light on. The evenings are stretching out so that I see the western horizon line faintly aglow as I look out the window while nursing Kaz to sleep. I am a creature of light and love how the play of seasons and the time of day is forever changing the pallette in which I dwell.

Last Friday I found myself taking the long way home from an outing to the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, MA. The mountains are just a little more dramatic over that way and I loved losing myself on the country roads, passing dairy farms and expansive vistas as I drove higher and higher in elevation. The whites of the snow also became shades of blue, gray and purple as the sky, light and shadows, played across open fields and forested mountainsides.

Another marker to this season, which is other than winter and spring, is the flowing of the sap within the trees. Things are stirring and coming back to life. A highlight of living here in New England is the marking of this time with Maple syrup making. It's been a couple years since we've tapped some of our Maple trees but today we put in six taps and hung from them the metal buckets to collect the sap. We don't make a big production out of this, just a little fun and work which gets us outside with the end result being a quart or two of syrup for morning pancakes and waffles. I look forward to checking the buckets everyday to see if they need emptying and putting a large stock pot full of the sap on the wood stove to eventually be boiled down to the sweet syrup. I find that getting out this time of year is special. The chirping of the chicadees have that beautiful springtime quality, the sun is higher in the sky and shines down a bit stronger.


  1. Chicaddas? already? here in toronto we hear them only in plain summer, when the sun and heat are almost unbearrable :) did you know that they are the loudest creatureas on this Earth, and some species come to life once in 14 years, for ~ 1 week?! (then again, 14 years cycle begins, from eggs to cocoon stage, for another week of adult life...that's some preparation, eh! :) if it would be to transpose this to humans, would be to live like infants and toddle for 70 years, then suddenly, after a brief transformation, to live like adults for 1 month...I think I'd like that more:) one month we would have time just for making love and poetry (no time for other bullshits that humans use to make out of toooo much time they have at their disposal...we wouldn't be able to develop greed and loneliness in just one day)

    great idea of taping the maples if you have many :) we have just one in the backyard, very big (it is ~100 years) and once we thought of tapping him...but he is like our backyard friend...we don't want to tap him :)

    this year I've made "gyudem" one specialty sausagge that had to be curred in the cold outside for few weeks :) and I;ve done the same as you, going almost every day to check the cage I've done it to protect them from rodents and racoons :) they are dellicious with some fine cheese and wine (I'll give you the recipe if you want to try!)

    1. Hi Razvan!
      I miss you and your family! How is everyone? Your sausage project sounds great and like another good way to get out of the house when it's still cold and snowy outside. Sure, send me the recipe! Maybe I'll make it next year during sugar season and check my sap buckets and sausages at the same time :-)!

      I like your story about the cicada's. Their lifetime is so different from ours! Sometimes I play that game in my mind and imagine what it feels like to be different life forms that have different lifetimes from ours. There is a book called "Einstien's Dreams" that touches on this kind of day dreaming. You might like it!

      But no, I'm not hearing the cicada's yet...that's for the warmer weather, you're right. I'm hearing the little black and white birds, called Chicadees. They are here all year but their spring song is pretty and different from their winter sounds. Perhaps you hear and see them in Toronto?

    2. Kim,

      thanks for the book recommendation (it looks like I'm collecting quite few lately - I'll put yours along with Elena's recommendation of "Siddartha" by Hesse - and basicaly adding it to a long list of waiting-to-be-read books I have in mind).

      I reply with a movie recommandation "Love" by William Eubank...pretty touching, and if you liked "2001: A Space Odyssey" you'll love this too (but be prepared to some emotional take on loneliness - as if that could be taken otherwise!- haha).

      And yeah, Elena made me aware of my confusion regarding the ciccada's...she told me about the bird, as well! I'm not sure I've seen any, not mentioning that I didn't know their name. but I'll look around to see them :)

      last summer, I saw from very close one ciccada (the bug)...huge, beautifull, amazing was dead (looks like is very difficult to see them alive, you just can hear them but never identify the exact direction from where they emit the sound - it is a trick they use).

      Hugs to you and Kaz (some people call me Raz :) so I'd be good budy with Kaz) and high-five my friend Josh for me!


  2. beautiful images of the season just starting to turn.