Yellow crocus  in snow

Today’s WP Daily Prompt challenges me to think of the concept of ‘mask’. To me, the usual interpretation of wearing a mask entails intentionally hiding something. Keeping a cheerful countenance, for instance, to hide despair. Or appearing grim so as to hide the unbearable joy about to explode that might, in so doing, undo an important business transaction. Of course there’s also using tape to protect an area from the paint to be applied beyond it, so that you can create a crisp clean interface between the two.

But what if wearing a mask in fact works toward the reason for wearing it? Something more along the lines of ‘fake it until you make it.’ Wherein the mask itself becomes a helpful tool moving you toward the desired state. If you smile even when feeling down, you tend to elicit smiles from others. This, in turn, makes you want to smile more in response. Until, before you know it, smiling has become second-nature and a gift to all involved.

Yesterday’s surprise heavy snow — well, not all that surprising for late April in northern Vermont — masked the myriad green shoots pushing up from cold ground. Some of them I recall planting last fall. Others seem welcome interlopers. None seemed to welcome the snow that bent their just-opening faces as they sought the anticipated sun. Yet, they poked up even through the density of the surprise snow. And today it melts (as is the wont of late-season white). Those blossoms continue to exude sunny joy despite unseasonably low temperatures.

I appreciate their tenacity, their telling of the fact that winter WILL end, and soon. They testify and reassure that seasons still turn, though in oddly shifting and unpredictable patterns. Their perseverance gives me both hope and gratitude for what can emerge because — and even in spite — of masks.

a sore sight for eyes

april through the windowIt’s April. Everyone I know is talking sunshine, gardening, dirt and daisies. Not here. Not in northern Vermont. Here, we awake nine days into April – NINE days, count them – to snow. A sight that admittedly quickened the pulse once. A long l-o-n-g seven months ago.

But! we sputter. We had that day two weeks back when the air was so warm everyone was out in shirtsleeves. On skateboards. Bikes rolled up and down the avenue. Dogs frolicked. People smiled, relief at airing the tightly held need to stay warm released freely to no need for jackets, scarves, hats, gloves, heavy socks and boots. We didn’t even need to check the sidewalk for black ice.

Until now. Today. Moving toward mid-April.coated in april

We are of course not surprised. Mother’s Day snow is almost commonplace. The June snow is not quite mythical. We live in the northern mountains and when that doesn’t spell snow, it spells rain.  And then we complain because there is no sun. BUT! – that is why the mountains do turn green. Eventually.

Remembering the intensity of that emerald green – once the snow has melted and the mud settled back down – how breath-takingly it appears after the blank canvas of so many months of white – I realize that I am more than ready this year for that welcome sight for sore eyes.early spring trees