People & Places

Madeleine May Kunin: The arrival of spring in Vermont is almost a religious experience

Dry vegetation sits under a warming sun in Jericho April 14, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Editor's note: This commentary is by Madeleine May Kunin, a Democrat and the first woman to serve as the governor of the state of Vermont.

I went for a walk on a trail through the woods. Everything was a dull brown — the leaves on the ground that rustled under my feet, the rough, furrowed bark I felt with my hands on a bare tree.

But the sky was blue and the air was kind, except for an occasional streak of cold that made me keep my hat on to cover my ears.

Spring had not arrived yet, but all the signals of its imminent arrival were there. Green stalks of daffodils poked through the dry grass. No buds yet, but they were on their way.

A few rain showers, and the meadow I passed will be transformed into a verdant field sprinkled with wildflowers. I will try to identify them next month.

Mud season has come and gone — at least for now. My feet leave no footprints on the hard earth. A shallow stream survives in the ditch on the side of the road.

I lift my head and feel the sun on my face — it does not burn. It is gloriously warm. All that vitamin D, sinking in, I tell myself. I even can feel the sun penetrating my woolen jacket and warming my back.

The arrival of spring in Vermont is almost a religious experience. We worship all the signals spring sends after a gray, sun-deprived winter. Perhaps it’s the transformation from dark to light that makes me exult in the new season. I take a deep breath.

Monday evening, when I walked out of the dining room at 7, the sun was just beginning to set. I was thankful for the sun’s spring generosity and drank in the light.

In March, I was a skeptic, waiting impatiently for spring to be blown in by an icy wind, I feared it would never come. In April, I am a believer. Spring will make its presence felt once again. I’m quite sure.

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Madeleine May Kunin

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