Dedham, Maine -- Coltsfoot flowers grow in abundance on May 8, 2022, beside a road in Dedham. Credit: Courtesy of Aislinn Sarnacki

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It is now firmly spring, but Mainers know better than to expect only sunshine and warmth. Yes, the days are getting longer and warmer. This past weekend may have even felt more like summer for some. But a freeze warning or two could still be forthcoming. While you may venture out in a light jacket one day, it may be too early to pack away the hat and gloves.

Yet spring in Maine is a time of hope and renewal. The snowbanks have melted, and flowers have poked from the recently snow-covered 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.

“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,” Doiron added.

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!”

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...