From ice to mud to frozen mud and back again

Springtime ruminations in honor of Earth Day

By Rose Olson
Reader Staff

The official start of spring may be the end of March, but I feel like Earth Day is when the springtime vibes are finally on full blast. The chances of slipping back into winter are slightly less once you get through the first half of April. It will probably snow at least one more time, but it’s not sticking around.

I’m a person who generally enjoys routine (hands up if you’re an earth sign, too). For years now, my morning routine has gone like this: wake up sometime around sunrise, drink a full pint of water, hike up a steep old road cut near my house with my dog before coming back to the house for another pint of water, and then — finally — my little stovetop espresso percolator gets me caffeinated before I roll into the day.

Can you name this local peak in the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness area? Send answers to [email protected].
Photo by Rose Olson.

I’m doggedly determined about my commitment to this daily practice, especially the trudge up the hill. I do this year-round in the rain, in the snow and in the predawn darkness of winter. Yes, I walk every day to keep my dog happy, but it’s 100% for me, too. Quietly walking the same steps day after day has given me a deeper connection to this chunk of wild land around me.

Spring is the most exciting season to notice the shifts in this big circle of life. I love the day I get to ditch my winter boots and snowshoes for trail runners. I notice the texture of the ground shift from ice to mud to frozen mud to hard pack and back again. I hear robins and nuthatches join the chickadees and crows that stick around all winter. I see turkey tracks start to mix it up with the bunnies and deer. 

I notice if the larch and ocean spray are blooming earlier or later than they did last spring (this year is for sure later than last year). I can smell dirt and hear water and see bugs. I let the sun blast my face on high beam, sprout a freckle or two, and savor the warmth.

Tapping into this transition of the seasons always makes me think of the cyclical nature of all things in life — seasons, jobs, relationships, projects, homes… This may feel a little woo-woo to you (because it is), but in honor of Earth Day, I’d love to invite you to take a moment and reflect on the seasons in your own life. 

Where do you like to hang out? Are you in eternal spring mode — always starting projects? Or maybe you thrive on the constant high throttle of summer energy and you sustain all sorts of jobs and relationships for a long time? Perhaps you love the release of autumn or the slow quietude of winter. 

I tend to hold onto things (like I said: earth sign) and am grateful for the gentle nudge of each season to move and shift so I can make room for new things to come in, just like the spring.

Rose is the communications and engagement manager for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. Join her on a hike up Scotchman Peak or at a trail work party this summer to share her passion of connecting to wild places.

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