Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The six seasons

One thing about living on farm in rural West Virginia is that one experiences first hand and intimately the changing of the seasons.  West Virginia is situated in a temperate climate so we have four distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.


They all have their good and bad points when left to their own ways.  However, we also have two other seasons, Flood and Mud, that just can’t seem to leave the meteorological seasons well enough alone.   Flood and Mud have a tendency to scamper willy-nilly among the four seasons like mischievous teenage boys, each wreaking their own brand of havoc.  One never knows when they might appear on the farm.  In late March they often show up together, with Flood generally leading the way for an acute bout of Mud that lasts until the growing season arrives and the excess water is transpired into the air by trees and other plants.  Sometimes Flood prefers to create havoc single handedly, especially in summer, doing his thing in a sudden toad-strangling gully washer and then quickly moving on.  Excess water either soaks into the ground to be sucked back out again or it runs off the hard, dry ground, leaving us with clogged culverts and washed out creek crossings.  Mud seldom makes an appearance and must be on vacation after working overtime all spring.  

Some years, Mud hangs out with his good buddy Old Man Winter.  This year they seem to have an extended collaborative project going.  Nearly every morning, Old Man Winter secretly does his thing in the dark and freezes the ground hard as a rock.  He sometimes goes to the trouble of trying to preserve his handiwork with a covering of snow.  But Mud, the persistent bugger he is, swoops in about noon with his pal Spring, who brings temperatures not befitting the month of January to undo that all Winter accomplished overnight. 

But when Mud REALLY shines is after Old Man winter has really set in during the entire month of February, decides he has had enough, and then moves on.  For then, you get that truly special gooey, greasy mud that only appears when the ground, now  frozen at depth, begins to thaw.  This is the boot-sucking, gravel-swallowing kind of mud that anyone who has clay soils knows very well.  It is the season of 4- wheel drives, muck boots and gravel trucks.  

For some reason fall is mostly left to fend for itself and are generally free of the two pesky interlopers.  I guess we all deserve a break sometime.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and I love the mud picture. I found it interesting that you gave Mud a male gender. Does that mean anything?