Island spring

My favorite season in the Netherlands was the spring: birds singing, green grass, tons of flowers and color after the three grey and cold winter months.
Little lambs skipping in the fresh green fields; happy cows dotting the landscape with their black and white bodies, mooing contently of being able to go outside and eat fresh grass rather than hay; and the typical spring flowers: first the snowdrops, then the crocuses, followed by daffodils and for the grand finale: the tulips!

Buds open up on the trees and a wide variety of blossoms and leaves pop up everywhere. The air is pregnant, just like all the animals; girls are donning skirts: spring has arrived!

Here, on the island, things are blooming and opening up as well. However, it is a very different kind of spring.

After the five months of cold and snow, cars are skipping on the roads, trying to avoid potholes caused by frost and frequent snow plowing; orange cones dot the landscape otherwise still grey; saws and drills are humming happily while fixing up any kind of damage King Winter caused. The typical activity in blooming here: it starts with un-boarding the fountains in the park and the stores and restaurants, then out come the paint brushes and paint pots, followed by extensive cleaning and for the grand finale: the arrival of boxes and boxes of new merchandise, new furniture or new equipment.
A wide variety of signs on the window: ‘Opening soon!’, ‘Help wanted’, ‘Store for rent.’
IMG_5881People change into fleece jackets, but are smart enough not to clean up the winter coat just yet: a day of 60-degree weather might very well be followed by a small snowstorm.

The first tourists arrive, looking confused at the sleepy town that just woke up, looking nothing like the photos in the brochures.

Where is the green grass?
Where are the leaves, the flowers, the people?
Why are the stores still closed?
What is all that construction noise?
The one-lane traffic?

Spring on the island means to leave the winter behind and to get ready for the new season: tourist season.

Both springs have something in common as well:
The sense of anticipation and new beginning.
A time of reflection on the past winter and looking ahead to the upcoming summer.

IMG_5851I can’t say that spring is my favorite season, I think that might have changed to the beautiful New England fall, or maybe the wonderland winter, or maybe the lovely summer, with its warm days and cool nights, but I have to admit that spring brings a certain feeling of excitement to me.
Excitement for all that is yet to come and a sense of pride that I survived another Maine winter.
But let’s not jinx it: it might snow tomorrow.

Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.