It was closing in on the end of my first year living in New York. I was unfamiliar with this middle season I had heard about but never actually experienced: mud season. After about a week of trudging through sloshy, melting snow, and tracking mud into my apartment, I suddenly understood why people had “mud rooms.” Having spent most of my previous east coast time visiting Maine in the summer, it never made much sense to me that people had separate entry rooms with stand brushes for shoes and racks for heavy coats.
Then it happened. April came and the accumulating snow began to melt and no matter where I went there was mud.
But if felt so good, the rain and the warmer temperatures that marked the start of a new season, one that would hopefully leave me feeling slightly less isolated and homesick. I missed California – I missed home, and the ocean, and “winter” where it was overcast and foggy but I could count on a sunny and warmer day here and there to break up this “cold” season.
The PNW has mud season too, except it lasts a little longer, like the entire expanse of winter. It recently hit me the reason my skin begins to itch for some sunshine about this time of year is because winter and spring here are pretty much the same. Living in a climate where it snows for several months, spring rains smack of relief and warmer temps. When you live where it rains for winter AND for spring and then for some of summer, too . . . well. You can see how the experience isn’t quite the same.
I went out onto my patio this week and refilled the bird feeders and swept off the chairs, pushing the seedlings from the tree outside my living room onto the ground. It felt good to be outside, under some sunshine, and the cleaning was part of my own personal renewal where I am feeling more connected to being at home since I don’t have overwhelming deadlines hanging over my head and a huge project to finish. I’m starting to feel like a normal person, the kind that can plan home projects for the weekend instead of pages of writing chapters or reading texts for a literature review.
So the mud this year, the in-between season, suits me well. I am in-between, too, in that maleable state that isn’t the same as what it was but hasn’t formed into what it will be either. Let the rain come, and I will soak it up and see what it changes me into.