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On Tuesday, Joe and I took Ella to the ski bowl for a quick hike. The sun was shining, it was in the high 70s and the snow up the side of the mountain was slushy and soft. A dead leaf rolled by and Ella immediately chased it. There was some leftover winter, a little reminder of autumn and a definite taste of spring/summer. Four seasons rolled into one day.

Then yesterday, Ella and I went for a walk through the woods with my friend Meredith and her dog Mango. Ella and Mango soon left us to run up and down the trails, the woods on either side of us open and rolling over exposed hills. Some might have called it an ugly view: the trees were bare, the trail was muddy and littered with fallen branches, and snow clung, stubborn and dirty, to the shaded parts.

But I saw it as a promise. Mud means that spring has arrived[1]. And spring means an end to what sometimes seems like an endless winter. Yes, I love winter in a ski town. There’s a charm and coziness and delight to wood stoves, hot toddies, slow and wide turns on Twister (yeah, I’m a snowboarder, but not a particularly great or fast one), walking in a darkened sleeping town as snow comes down soft and thick, and waking up to miles of white powder. But it’s cold in the Adirondacks for such a long time  that when that first warm day arrive, my hear turns over with excitement[2].

So here’s to mud and bare trees, because they will soon turn to green grass and beautiful lush leaves, to bluebird days on the Hudson River, cocktails on the porch and screen doors slamming, brighter mornings and longer days.

[1] It also means I’ll be bringing towels in the car as mud also means a very dirty dog at the end of the hike.

[2] I also break out the sandals and wear my Birkenstocks even though there’s still snow on the ground. 75 degrees is 75 degrees.

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