The slow thaw

Far from festive city lights and the constant hum of passersby, winter in the Catskills is visually and audibly quiet. Occasionally, a squirrel pops out of his secret den, but for the most part, the frozen earth is a white canvas, waiting. The prolonged silence of nature can be both disabling and stimulating, creatively. Ideas simmer beneath the surface, full of promise, but seldom come to fruition until winter’s hush finally gives way to the bubbling cacophony of spring.

An upstate New York spring does not happen overnight. Old Man Winter’s sinewy grip reluctantly loosens, but upstaters have learned to anticipate the slow thaw. As soon as the layers of snow and ice begin to melt, we ready greenhouses, remove snow tires, and shout hellos to neighbors. The vernal equinox is not just a date on the calendar, but the promise of longer, warmer days.