We came to Maine from Alabama to celebrate and remember what it is like to have all four seasons. It so happened we forgot that there are five.

Admittedly, numbers are just numbers. Five seasons are just an odd type of bonus. Remember the life and contributions of the fifth Beatle? (George Martin, who recently died at 90.)

I drew an imaginary line at 70 and decided to retire, even though I was just as happy about my work as a college professor as I had been at year one. Numbers. Which brings me back to the fifth season.

Mud season is the fifth season that we didn’t remember when choosing to move to Maine.

Now mud season is like all unpleasant things; they are remembered while we’re living through them and we as quickly forget them. There’s much about them that just ain’t pretty. I could say I’m experiencing mud season for the first time, again. Ah, the advantages in amnesia. I remember mud season when I do that slip/slide twist with my foot like I just stepped in it. (You all know what “it” is.)

I see dogs now that I haven’t seen walked before in my neighborhood. Walked by their owners whom I’ve also not seen before. I hear a cardinal sing now more frequently than in full winter. I can only guess what those cardinals are singing about; but it is “purdee … purdee.” Equal parts joy and passion about skybreak or holding top spot in the universe.

The breeze hums through the pines as briskly as always, but I recognize it as just a moment’s change. In fact, the clouds go scudding past, but I don’t worry about them possibly leading to snow; they just remind me to buy a kite.

As I look out, I see fresh green emerging and gray snow piles shrinking, I allow myself to complain, but the complaint isn’t as strong as the so-called “summer complaint,” which will undoubtedly return to Maine. Nor is the complaint anywhere as pervasive, loud or long as the one heard during the past Maine winter: “How lucky we’ve been this year.”

I have a feeling that if I complain about mud season, it is because unless I do, it might be over before I even notice it has been here. I may complain only to get another neighbor to tell me a tale of the real mud seasons of yore. I will certainly forget this one again until next year.

A transitional moment like mud season may only exist as it reminds us to pay attention. Days do fly like passing clouds or like single calendar days ripped off in a dissolve-shot in an old black-and-white movie. I don’t suggest the impossible, only that we can try transforming “carpe diem” into “carpe season.”


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