Maine Writers’ Signs of Spring

Today, we’re taking a break from our works in progress to share some photos and stories about the return of spring. Spring comes slowly to Maine, as the tips of trees grow red and the first small bits of yellow green create a furze along the roadsides. The bushes begin to leaf out, the fuzzy buds of flowering trees swell, and the vibrant yellow of forsythia explodes. Spring has a scent of its own, and everyone has something special that signals to them that it has returned.

The aching back from raking? The ruthless feeling as sharp clippers tame out-of-control shrubs? The sudden eruption of bird calls everywhere? That first warm night when frogs hop across the road, suddenly leaping into the headlights? The shrill sound of peepers in spring ponds? What signals the return of the spring to you?

Kate Flora: Spring is a hard season for me, as I find myself torn between the need to be at my desk, meeting my daily quota of a thousand words, and wanting to be out in the garden, raking off last year’s leaves and dead plants, and seeing what has survived the winter.


Susan Vaughan: My favorite signs of spring are in the woods. Our neighborhood maintains a woods path through all the properties. Once the ice has vanished, we have a babbling brook and a vernal pond with chirping tree frogs, along with the first blooms. Dogtooth violets (which are really yellow, not violet) and purple trilliums are the native bloomers. One neighbor has planted daffodils along the path too. I can happily walk the dog through the woods and plot as I enjoy the spring growth.

Maureen Milliken: While spring is definitely here — the temperature has mostly stayed above freezing the past couple weeks and it’s rained pretty much most of that time — the signs are less about pretty blossoms where I live and more about what happens with other things when the weather suddenly changes from frozen and snowcovered.

The buds have just emerged on the forsythia outside the window.

On the blossoms front, the forsythia next to my living room window has shown buds the past couple of days, so can blossoms be far behind? Off in the distance work on the town’s new gazebo continues after a winter hiatus, so that’s a good sign.

A sure sign of spring — the road work has started up again.

Also after a winter hiatus, the never-ending road work in my village has started up again. At 6 in the morning. SIGH.

My cat hanging out outside — a sure sign of spring.

My cat, who’s spent the last five months filling the litter box (she has a digestive problem) now prefers to spend more time outside than in, and has taken over the porch despite the fact I have yet to do my springtime cleaning of it. She doesn’t care — until it’s a little warmer out it means she gets the good chair for herself.

If it’s spring, it means the Kennebec River is raging!

I grew up in Augusta and one of the big signs of spring was Front Street downtown flooding when the river melts. I remember one year as a teen my brother Jimmy and I standing on a rickety wooden staircase that used to go down between two buildings as it rose and fell with the current because the bottom part had been washed away. Changes over the years, including adding a park and a water break means the flooding isn’t so severe, but it’s still fun to go down and check out the mighty Kennebec River as the snow in the mountains melts. And, of course, the rain continues.

The ducks wait for ice out on Sebec Lake.

Ice out is one of the biggest traditional signs of spring. I was up in Sebec a couple weeks ago and it hadn’t happened yet, though Sebec Lake was working on it. By the time I got back to my town, our lakes had made a big effort towards it, too.

People talk about it not being spring so much, but instead being mud season. While that’s the case in a lot of ways, sooner or later, that day will come when all the sudden the breeze is warm, the grass is green and all those blossoms have bloomed. I can’t wait!

John Clark: No photos, but some things that signal spring up here in the semi-wilderness. 1-Overwintered parsnips can be dug. 2-The FEDCO tree sale. not only a great chance to add to your fruit tree/berry, etc. collection, but a cultural event. May 3-4 this year. 3-Fields full of green grass and plenty of deer to eat it. 4-the bigger than expected brush pile gets burned, adding good stuff back into the garden. 5-New bird sounds (heard a cardinal the other day). 6-Town meeting.


Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson: Spring? What’s that? I’m writing this on April 29 and the temperature went down below freezing here in the western Maine mountains last night. On the bright side, the photo above, taken today, shows the very last of the snow I can see from my window. That’s the shady side of the garage, but the sun is shining today (miracle!), so with any luck we’ll be down to bare ground by the time you read this.


Brenda Buchanan:  Let me see, signs o’ spring.  Ah!  Took the flannel sheets off the bed. Swapped most of the turtlenecks in the dresser for long- and short-sleeved tops.  Put the corduroys away (well, all but one pair).

Excavated the back seat of the car to match up stray mittens and rescue winter hats. Put the long windshield scraper/brush away at the same time. Gave a good, long look at the jumble of boots in the garage, the first step to getting rid of the worn ones and stowing the keepers until November. Haven’t put on sneakers yet. Too darn wet.

The shovels will go to their summer place in the garage rafters soon.  I’m superstitious about that. May 1 and not one day sooner.

Pulled the cold frame from its winter storage spot and fitted it on the raised bed, seeded it with lettuce and spinach a week ago. Tiny green shoots are shooting!

Sandra Neily: Oops …  a day late to post but wanted to share. Up here at Moosehead Lake I can still snowshoe uphill at the closed ski area. That’s a lot easier than walking the dog on muddy roads. But there are signs of spring down where my camp is and here they are!

Canadian Geese in the sliver of open cove

Determined daffs.

Last week: my last ski around the edge of the lake. Not so much skiing……

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Maine Writers’ Signs of Spring

  1. bethc2015 says:

    One sign is the songs of birds. I am always excited to hear the honk of geese returning to the river. A cardinal kept calling to me from a nearby tree. I could not locate him on the branches but he flew over me twice to confirm his presence. And then there are the beautiful blossoms:

Leave a Reply