Spring Black-out

For a while there in April it felt like we were on the verge of May. Then, March-like conditions swept in and we were on the verge of tears. It doesn’t seem fair, having one’s chain yanked like that, but that’s the way it is around here.

“… You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March…”

~From “Two Tramps at Mud Time” by Robert Frost

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you just sort of black out in mid-April and, before you know it, it really is the middle of May and swallows are chasing down mayflies among snowflakes.


It’s really more of a brown out (there are lucid moments) but it rolls through every year as I brace myself excitedly prepare for another season serving the fine folks of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, their families and guests (see Flashback Friday: Opening Day). It is one thing to dread joyfully anticipate the return of the people who belong here but it is another thing altogether to deal with those who don’t (see Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler).


Optimistic cynicism (Cynical optimism?) is one of the things that keeps the curmudgeonly demeanor so important to my charm from swerving into the ditch of psychopathy, I think, especially when I ask people why they have parked with their bumper against the post supporting my No Parking sign (the only such sign within a two mile radius). I still hold out hope that I will some day hear something other than, “I wasn’t sure where else to park.”

Thanks in part to a relatively mild winter, just one camp along the shores of Fish in a Barrel Pond was certified “Mouse Free” when we opened this year, but that was only because it had been taken over by a family of weasels. The camp next door was like a rodent refugee camp and the return of the anglers was a boon unto them, what with all the dog food and Doritos™ they brought along (see If You Think a Mouse in a Bag of Chips Makes Noise … and also Mouse Pie).

Winter is done, spring has sprung and another season is under way at Fish in a Barrel Pond. It’s a chore to get things up and running in the small window of time allowed, but it happens every year and it is a expletive deleted true and humbling honor to do it in service of fly fishers, the finest, most up-standing folks on earth (go ahead, ask them yourself).

The sunlit arch at Bobo’s has been cold for nearly a month, after boiling down something like 57,000 gallons of sap into just over 1,000 gallons of syrup. The picture at the top of this post is from the end of the final boil of the season, when nearly every container available had been pressed into service. Whether you pour it on pancakes or do like I do and drink it straight up, Bobo’s Mountain Sugar 2016 is ready to go! Visit bobosmountainsugar.com and order yourself a few gallons.

Shifting gears without stripping gears can be tricky (does anyone know how to work a clutch any more?) but around here the transition is eased by having friends with sheep, walks in the woods and pre-season excursions on the water.

A few images from those lucid moments among this year’s chaos of spring:




Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Spring Black-out

  1. Idaho steel

    I feel ya. Out here it dumped four inches of snow on my local river Easter Sunday. Granted, that was a month earlier, but still… If you are looking for a new and interesting way to give yourself vertigo, try standing in a river during a heavy snowfall and attempt to keep track of a size twenty blue wing olive parachute.

    And I drive a clutch. So does my wife. Which did make for an entertaining spectacle when we went to purchase a new car (our first!) recently. I’ll say this for the woman: She doesn’t tolerate condescending sales staff terribly well. It’s fun to watch ’em dissolve into oily obsequious puddles.

    • It snowed, yet you fished, with tiny flies, no less. You are an inspiration, as is your wife for working a clutch and keeping the guys with nice hair in their places.

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