Winter is starting to lose it's icey grip on our little chunk of real estate in Dutchess County. There are some distinct signs of spring's impending arrival that are stereotypical and then there are some "locale specific" signs that only a shrewd resident, such as myself, notices. The most obvious sign is the arrival of mud. Our driveway is dirt, which turns to mud and mucky puddles once the temperatures start warming up the earth. Dog paw prints become the latest rage for kitchen flooring in our home. I try to pretend that its a new trend and only the cool people are bold enough to sport this pattern. With the addition of Becks in our house, the pawprints are scattered in a dizzying array, he's like a Pollock of paw printing. I tend to look at the mop and sigh a lot during mud season.
Another big sign of spring is the return of the songbirds. I have a new friend, who serenades me with melodious bird songs each morning if I happen to be sitting at my desk. He's a dashing red finch and if I didn't know better I would say that he's flirting with me. Our front yard is filled with ancient oak trees, and yet, this bird chooses to perch on a limb directly outside my office window so I can admire him while he gives his concert. You know how those male birds are, all flashy colors and big voices. Meanwhile, their drab, demure housewives are building nests and getting ready for the egg laying process. Makes me damn glad that I'm not a bird.
So, there are two preliminary spring signs of the natural variety. I'm here to report that I have just had the first official sighting of "The Idiots who Ride Loud Motorcycles at Reckless Speeds on Country Roads". There is a whole posse of jackasses around here who feel compelled to get on their brightly colored crotch rockets and blaze across our gentile back roads, careening around blind corners, and reaching speeds of mach 1 on the straightaways. So far, in the span of one hour I have counted 9 of these fools that most likely have been staring at their beloved bikes all winter, drooling over the prospect of rippin' it full throttle ala Evel Knieval through the hills of Millbrook. I imagine them stopping at a bar for a beer and high fiving each other with comments like, "Dude, I'm so glad you missed that jumbo farm tractor!" and "whatever man, that lady didn't look like she should be riding a horse anyway. I'm sure she got back on and was fine." To say I dislike them is putting it mildly. They are dangerous and annoying. Period.
Last but not least, a sure sign that spring is a'coming to Millbrook is the return of the slurry truck, making it's seemingly endless runs by our house. We live a few miles from a lovely dairy farm, stocked with beautiful Guernsey cows. The farmers own a substantial amount of acreage behind where we live and they plant it with tightly packed rows of cow corn and alfalfa. Unfortunately for us, they use their liquified cow poo to fertilize these fields in the spring and let me tell you, the aroma can be pretty rank. The slurry truck is old, smelly and I can hear her coming from a mile away. I saw her yesterday for the first time this year and that means soon I won't be able to open my back door without triggering my gag reflex. To be honest, after the horrors of cold, snow and ice that we had this year I say bring on the mud, bird gigolos, motorcycle races and shit storm of cow dung. I am relishing each sign of the changing seasons, no matter how noisy, messy, or malodorous. Bring it on.