Spring means new opportunities for discovering and exploring. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn,” wrote nature author Hal Borland.

I start hearing those nine words in my head about mid-February. They repeat with growing intensity with every winter day. By the time mid-March rolls around they are repeated over and over like a broken record.

Last winter certainly seemed to last forever. We had snow on the ground for a solid eight months … October to May!

It seems we will not be in the same predicament this year.

Well-worn and dog-eared seed catalogs have lost their prominent position in the stack of reading materials beside my chair; mud has been churning in the driveway for weeks; and robins have finally been spotted in my yard.

Although I have yet to see it for myself, I’ve heard crocus and other early spring flowers are beginning to push through sun-warmed soils.

Yes, it seems spring will arrive this year right on time and in tune with when the calendar says it should. The days are longer and warmer, and the snowpack is voraciously melting away.

During any other year, these signs would mean it’s time for Staci and me to do our first exploratory outing of the year, something we call “Our annual Mud Run.”

It’s never actually a run. It’s not even a walk, really. It is a deliberate, slow stroll along what is usually a dirt logging road running across her property.

In the spring, the road is a mud bog.

One, or both, of us inevitably finds a soft spot and sinks knee-deep into the muck. Once our laughter subsides, we usually rely on the other to pull us out of our predicament.

The hilarity of the situation certainly adds to the experience but what makes the yearly walk special are the discoveries we make as we wonder at nature as it wakens from its winter slumber.

We always find new growth, new life and promises for new adventures.

Given our current situation, this adventure will be put on hold. We will most likely miss our mud season adventure. I will definitely miss the laughter and the opportunity to make new memories.

But I’m no fool! I know Mother Nature is finicky and there is a high probability she will surprise us with another winter storm or two before all is said and done. There is still a lingering hope that our tradition will continue.

Right now we are experiencing a similar season. No one is really sure what the next day will bring. We don’t know what life will be like a month from now, much less next week.

But, one thing I am learning is that this is a season for teaching compassion, empathy and endurance. It is a season for building relationships through distance … a season for realigning priorities. I am putting those lessons into practice and looking forward to continuing with them when this season is over.

Because each one offers something the others can’t, I enjoy something different about each of the four main seasons and the multitude of mini in-between seasons we experience in Maine.

Yes, it’s hard to pick a favorite season but I find the limbo period of faux spring to be exciting because it offers hope of things yet to come despite the near-guarantee of winter making an encore before its final curtain call.

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