With apologies to T. S. Eliot, I have to say that in northern Vermont right about now the answer seems to be yes.

Even “real Vermonters” are getting sick of winter at this point; they have been for a few weeks now. We’ve had persistent cold, quite a few mornings below zero — one just this past Thursday when it went down to -15 — and lots of snow. But last Tuesday, March 1st, was Town Meeting Day, always a harbinger of spring, and things really began looking up on Saturday, which was Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and the end of the inauspicious dön season. Yes, it rained, but it was warm, and so was Sunday morning, which brought more rain. The mountain of snow at the back end of our door yard shrunk noticeably and a pile of wood that I never thought we were going to need, but now I’m pretty sure we will, began peaking out from under its white cover in the wood yard.

Chatting with our neighbor, Marilyn, as she was picking up her mail last week, I learned that Town Meeting Day was when they always tapped their trees when she was a kid. Her father would go to town meeting and the rest of the family would go out and tap. She also reminded me that many folks start their seedlings about now, since it is traditional to plant on Memorial Day, although she often delays both the seedlings and the planting for a week or two, as frosts remain a possibility into the second week of June.

And so, on Sunday afternoon, the day we first noticed the red of new buds on the trees around our fields, Wendy and I tapped two sugar maples — in early spring sunlight with that special silvery hue that is unique to New England. What an amazing experience for two city slickers. The sap began dripping before we could hammer the tap in, and those two trees began gushing faster than we could keep up, about ten gallons of clear sugar water between them every day …

That night a storm hit, one of the five snowiest ever to hit the state, according to the newspapers. It raged all day Monday. When I went out to plow with my medium-sized tractor, a 30-hp John Deere 870, at about 11 am, it was coming down so fast I couldn’t keep up. About 18″ fell altogether.

But the trees kept producing. And then, of course, mud season began on Thursday. You have to roll with the punches around here …

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