The Ugly Duckling Season

IMG_1403You know how every young person goes through an awkward stage? Not an adorable child any longer but not quite grown into the beauty she or he will become? You remember the heart-stopping beauty that was and you believe in the miracle that will bring the loveliness to come and yet every time you look, and you see the teeth that are too big for the face and the acne, you have to wonder a little?

That’s what our weather is like right now. The rest of the northern hemisphere seems to have sprung into springdom in all its glory, but here, in the North Country of upstate New York, we’re at the awkward stage.

The snow is melting into huge ponds on front yards but then freezes into perfect ice rinks over night.

IMG_1389Dead leaves and flower stalks from last year are stuck in the ice and hint of life but it’s only the merest whisper of a hint.

IMG_1396 IMG_1383The sand left by road crews all winter is drifting and, on windy days, taking a walk feels like going through a sandblaster.

IMG_1373We have spots where bare ground is showing but also have lots of filthy snow and a lake that refuses to melt.

IMG_1387 IMG_1374Where there’s ice at night, there will be mud all day.

IMG_1395 IMG_1394But no one is really complaining. Transitions are awkward and sometimes unlovely, whether in children or seasons, but they are also exciting and full of promise.

And one morning, we’ll wake up and without noticing exactly when it happened, the ugly duckling will have become a swan.

IMG_1406 IMG_3258

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37 thoughts on “The Ugly Duckling Season

  1. Great photos…we’re a little further along in spring like weather here. The crocus are up, the daffodils are getting there and the daylilies are showing their green. I’ve even been able to get out and start raking out the flower beds. Your swan will emerge soon!

  2. YES, I agree, Wow! Is what I felt when I saw the last photo. You write so beautifully and the photos so perfectly illustrated your post. It is such a good thing that you are so creative so that you can invest your time during your long, long winters in some lovely projects. Otherwise…..you might just go ..NUTS!!!! -Karen.

    • I might, indeed! The funny thing is that, along about September, I’ll start looking forward to winter and hunkering down in front of the fire. But enough of that! I want flowers, dammit!

  3. A beautiful analogy. The ‘ugly duckling’ stage is a perfect example of the pain of adolescence. Not only have you lost all your childhood privileges without having gained nay adult ones, you are also ugly and such a strange shape! What a relief it is that we grow up in the end. It may not be as good as staying young, but not all things are possible.

    • I was looking at photos from last summer and it is really hard to believe that this brown, dead landscape ever looked that good. But I know it will and I’m pretty excited!

  4. Every year this time, I remark to my husband how brown everything looks. But spring is hopeful, because we know what’s around the corner. Just yesterday, I noticed tiny buds on a lilac bush. Can’t wait for the yellow forsythia and purple crocus and red tulips and white daisies!

  5. That’s a lot of sand! I hope the snow melts and the plant life reemerges soon. It’s crazy that your lake is still frozen! it’s pretty spring like over here. There are daffodills and cherry blossoms and everything, just in time for easter! xx

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