Recently sawed wood awaits pickup at the site of Noah Yoder's sawmill in Easton in April 2019, while sawing takes a break during mud season. Credit: Anthony Brino / BDN

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It is now spring, according to the calendar. Mainers know better. Yes, the days are getting longer and warmer. But a blizzard or two could still be forthcoming. While you may venture out in a light jacket one day, it is far too early to pack away the snow shovel.

Yet spring in Maine is a time of hope and renewal. The snowbanks will melt and soon flowers will poke from the thawing ground.

Here are memorable words from writers, some of whom are Mainers and others who just lived here, about spring and its cousin — mud season.

“If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his novel “Kavanaugh.”  

And, these by Ruth F. Guillard, a musician and teacher who lives in Boothbay, from her poem “Spring Thaw.”

“Every spring I wait/For this sweet sound of release/The earth rejoicing.”

Spring, we are reminded by these writers, is a time of sunshine, snowmelt — and mud.

From “Mud Season” by Alice Persons of Westbrook, cofounder of Moon Pie Press:

“After a brutal Maine winter/the world dissolves/in weak sunshine and water:/Mud sucks at your shoes./It’s impossible to keep the floors/or the dogs clean./Peeling layers of clothes, you emerge/pale, root-like, a little dazed/by brighter light.”

We also appreciate a less glamorous take on the rites of spring in Maine.

“Late March. Mud season in Maine. Not yet springtime but no longer winter either — a slippery, seasonal limbo,” mystery writer Paul Doiron wrote in his novel “Trespasser” and recalled in a 2012 blog post. “Weather even more freakish than usual. Rain, snow, ice, and sun, all within the span of an hour. A meteorologist’s worst nightmare.”

“The only constant is mud. Mud creeping up your boots, splattering your pant legs, finding its way onto clothes you never even wear outdoors. … Wherever you look a mottled, melting landscape,” Doiron added. “Snow banks rotting along the roadsides and melt-water streams the color of urine. Everything that was hidden is now exposed. Beer cans, trash bags, emptied ashtrays. Fur and feathers from creatures unidentifiable, things long dead. Winter’s aftermath. The dirtiest season.”

We’re reminded by Edna St. Vincent Millay that, while we herald the arrival of spring, it is just one more in the ever-changing cycle of seasons.

“Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,/And all the flowers that in the springtime grow/And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow/Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing/The summer through, and each departing wing,/And all the nests that the bared branches show,/And all winds that in any weather blow,/And all the storms that the four seasons bring,” she wrote in “Sonnet III.”

We’ll end with a bit more from Longfellow, from “It is not always May.”

“The sun is bright,—the air is clear,/The darting swallows soar and sing./And from the stately elms I hear/The bluebird prophesying Spring. … Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,/To some good angel leave the rest;/For Time will teach thee soon the truth,/There are no birds in last year’s nest!”

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...