Lea Wait here. And it really isn’t just April showers, despite that lovely little rhyme that Thomas Tusser came up with around 1557, that causes the mud. It’s all the melting snow and ice that’s still around, the finally-rising temperatures releasing dampness that hasn’t evaporated from the frozen ground … PLUS those April rains, which in my experience tend to be a lot heavier than showers, Thomas. But he lived in England, a few years back. Maybe they were showers then.
In any case, the result is the same. Mud. Lots of it.
In Maine, the state tries to get ahead of it by posting orange “Heavy Loads Limited” signs on many of the side roads (e.g the roads most people live on) beginning in early March. If you read the small print on the signs, it says heavy trucks should stick to state roads until May 1, lest their weight result in even more pot holes, cracks, or breaks in the pavement. (Orange signs are posted on unpaved roads, too, for even more obvious reasons.)
In the meantime, mud is on cars. On shoes. On roads. On, in fact, pretty much on anything outdoors, and on anything that HAS been outdoors.
April is also the time when to the outside eye Maine wakes up. Roads and bridges left to snow plows and local traffic all winter are suddenly decorated by orange cones and “under construction” signs. Farmers’ markets open, displaying their earliest greens (green-house grown.) The first wave of “See You in the Spring!” restaurants and shops re-open, ready to greet the earliest snow-birds returning from Florida and the Carolinas, usually in mid-April.
Near where I live, April 15 is the magic date everyone prepares for. That’s when town water is turned on for the large island of Southport. Most summer folks have town water. (If you live there year ’round, you have to have a well.) So — the summer folks come back starting April 15, and businesses in nearly Boothbay Harbor, from the library to the hair salons and gourmet popcorn shop, gear up toward that date.
Farmers start looking at their fields. You can’t plant in mud, but you can start preparing. Cold weather crops go in as soon as the ground dries a bit. Frosts can be expected until well into May, but that won’t stop people from planting, and covering their seeds and young plants and crossing their fingers, especially in home gardens.
My husband plans to golf today. I’ll suggest he wear his mud boots (ankle-high boots designed for times when sloshing and slurping are terms related to walking, not sipping beverages) but he probably won’t. Men are stubborn. The Green won’t be green — but it’s April! Time for golf!
Also time to dig out all the clods of earth the guy who plowed our driveway this past winter managed to dig out of one part of our lawn and deposit on another part. Somehow the crocuses have fought their way through this new layer of driveway stone and earth, but clean-up work needs to be done, along with picking up the truckload or two of branches that fell in our yard during winter storms, were covered by snow, dug into the mud, and now cover whole sections of what we hope is still lawn.
Time to put away the snakes (long stuffed pieces of sand or balsam-filled cloth that sit on all our window and door sills to keep out drafts during the winter), put on the mud boots and clean up the yard, turn out the outside water, put out the bird bath, and smile. Another six weeks or so, and the grass will be green!