Ahhhh, Spring! Hi, I'm Dave Thurlow and this is The Weather Notebook. Spring is warm, colorful, fragrant and loud with birdsong. At least, if you happen to be where Spring does that, as commentator Ruth Cash-Smith tells us, Spring where she lives looks, smells and feels a whole lot different.
Signs of spring are much different in easternmost coastal Maine. We know spring's headed our way when we collide with frost heaves so deep they can easily hide a couple of eighteen-wheelers. Our firewood deliveries arrive, littering yards with tree-length logs that look like a giant child's pick-up sticks. Chainsaws rev up, our version of a spring symphony.
By April, dense fogs from the Bay of Fundy blow in, blurring the edges of still-bare trees. Forgotten junk that didn't get hauled to the dump blooms through the melting snow. In the woods, logging skidders have left behind mud ruts two-foot deep along with stumps of amputated trees. Heavily loaded logging trucks careen down Route One, the unmistakable scent of fresh-cut spruce lingering.
Bouts of rain, snow, sleet and hail--all in one day, sometimes even all in one hour!‹plague us. Laundry flaps on clotheslines for days, waiting for the fickle sun.
Leftover yellowing Christmas wreaths, drooping like a scolded cur's tail, are adorned with multi-hued plastic Easter eggs. Neighborhood kids in brightly colored rain boots wade in ditches, scouting for tadpoles.
Like swallows returning to Capistrano, flocks of bundled-up women resume daily walks, dodging UPS trucks laden with bulb deliveries. Men linger in the daylight-savings-time evenings to burn off their fields and lawns.
Up here in the Maine hinterland, spring does eventually arrive, even if it is Mother Nature's last stop. For a very few glorious days in late May--before the hordes of bugs and tourists arrive--we revel in it. Like my neighbor Luke, a native, says, " If the mud's here but not the black flies, then you know it's spring."
That's Ruth Cash-Smith of Dennysville, Maine. The Weather Notebook is underwritten by the National Science Foundation and Subaru.