The Season of Mud

On the first morning after the latest snowfall the snow begins to retreat even though the air temperature is still in the teens. The trunk of the maple tree, buried in over two feet of snow after we had finished clearing the walks, is exposed on one side by the second afternoon. By the third, the trunk is completely exposed.

Tree trunk
This tree trunk was buried in snow only a few days ago.

The sun, now approaching the equator from the south, delivers more of its energy to the Earth’s surface than it did just a few weeks ago.

For those who have patiently awaited a break in the pattern of snowfall and deep cold, patience has been rewarded. To those impatiently cursing the snow and cold, relief has also come.

Spring is finally here. Except that it isn’t. The weeks of cold temperatures that preceded the most recent cycle of storms and cold left the ground beneath the snow standing “hard as iron.” Although the ground will be exposed to the sun, it will be several more weeks before the thaw reaches this year’s frost line. Meanwhile, and especially if it rains, the season of mud is now underway. The world will be a messy place for some time.

Like winter, illness, injury, financial hardship, and other personal misfortunes are hard to bear and strain patience and faith. When relief comes it can take a while before it is fully realized, just as the beauty of spring takes time to unfold.

After an injury inflammation and pain persist. There may even be a period of enforced immobility to be endured. Casts, crutches, splints, and slings get in the way of normal activity. Unsightly scabs form to protect healing skin. An illness can leave one weak for a prolonged period. The effects of a loss or other hardship linger. Still, springtime or a period of renewal may await. Writing about patience in the midst of hardship James, the brother of Jesus, writes “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)

I am looking forward to a visit the local garden center to pick out some perennials. I want to start preparing the soil for a vegetable garden. But if I were to go out now, clear away the snow, and try to push a spade into the soil, I will not get very far. I will end up tracking slush and mud inside and accomplishing little of value. Best to let the sun do its full work and pick up the spade when the soil is ready. That day will come in due time.

Thank you as always for stopping by.