Spring of Deception

We are blessed with more than just four seasons here in the Southern Appalachians. We’ve already had Winter, Fool’s Spring, and Second Winter this year, and now we are nearing the end of Spring of Deception. What follows next will be a brief Third Winter, and then, sadly, The Pollening.

This is one of Tracey’s favorite times of year. The promise of Spring is peeking through here and there with bits of green and a blossom or two. It’s still “winter,” but warm and comfortable for those winter cleanup chores outside.

“Have you noticed how nice everyone has been lately,” she asked after a recent grocery gathering and bargain hunt. I had noticed. We’re not sure why, but we have theories. The weather is nice. The traffic is light. The tourons and part timers have not yet arrived and it’s “just us folks,” who grew up here or chose to grow their homes here. Without the distractions of the busy season we get a chance to know each other better again, and remember that we like each other some.

It’s a curiosity this time of year when the date on the calendar unsteadies the hand that reaches for the thermostat to turn on the AC. We don’t really need air conditioning right now, and if we do switch it on we’ll turn blue from the cold, but if we leave it off we’ll turn green from the humidity, like Stephen King in the meteor segment of the movie, “Creepshow.”

I do not know why the high tech and sophisticated materials surrounding us in this encapsulated, climate controlled modernity are so vulnerable to humidity. This was never a problem in my grandparents’ house, still standing not a quarter mile away. Windows were open much of the year, and doors that slammed with a screen, and yet there is not to this day a speck of mold to be found on anything.

Here we’re tied to a ritual annual enrichment of the power company. We open the windows and turn on the attic fan to let in the fresh air. It’s not healthy to breathe only the recycled contaminants of modernity. The fan and the cross breeze fill the house with refreshing, life giving air…and humidity. We close the windows and run the AC or the heat, depending on where we are in our 12 seasons, to draw the humidity back down, or else the closets start to smell musty and Tracey’s leather shoes need shaving.

Power bills aside, it is with growing anticipation that I look across my cup of coffee this morning, over the tops of sprouting seedlings in a south facing window and beyond to the garden waiting for my attention. It will be hand tools and boots for a while yet. I will not be decieved by the Spring of Deception into sinking my tractor tires into the soft ground. Some calendars include “Mud” between Spring of Deception and Third Winter.

Mud it is, but I’m content with mud. I hear the rush of the creek and know the water table is high. The plum and peach trees I planted will not need watering for a long time yet. A picture of smoke from the 2016 fires is on my desk to inspire humility and remind me to be grateful for mud.

Tracey is up now. She’s turned on the television to catch the morning weather. Television, where deception springs eternal. Ah, she found the mute button. Time for a second cup of coffee.

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