Mud Season by Karen Shughart

If you’ve ever read any of my Cozies, you may have noticed that the month of March doesn’t figure prominently in the narrative. Don’t get me wrong. We live on the south shore of Lake Ontario in New York state, and it’s spectacularly beautiful here almost year ‘round. That is to say: it’s spectacularly beautiful eleven months during the year. Not so much March.

March is the month of transition. One day the temperature plummets into the teens, the next day it rises into the 60s. We can have winds of 50 miles an hour. Then, waves up to 15 feet crash turbulently against the beach, roaring so loudly that they obliviate other village sounds. When the winds die down, there’s an eerie silence, and the lake looks like glass. .

We have snow squalls and rain, sometimes in the same hour. Snow that’s accumulated throughout the winter now starts to melt; quickly, in torrents and rivulets that make our backyard a swamp. I wear my old Wellies to stomp around to view the changing landscape. We don’t have many sidewalks here, and a stroll through the village can be challenging, to say the least. Many of us refer to the month as Mud Season.

Mid-March along the lake by Karen Shughart

Gray days seem to dominate, but it’s not all doom and gloom. You can smell the ripening as the tree buds start to swell and begin turning red or pale green. Snowdrops bloom, and our daffodils stretch up through the melting snow. The sun rises earlier, casting rose gold streaks over the bay; on rare days it is piercingly bright, with a clear azure sky. Those are the days when our middle-aged dog, Nova, sleeps in sunbeams that move from room to room.

We hear lots of birdsong. Robins live here year ‘round, but mostly in winter they hunker down out of site. Now, they make their presence known. A couple weeks ago, I peered out our living room window and spied two sparrows, a male and a female, chattering away on the winter wreath of twigs, pinecones and berries that hangs on our front door. I believe they were having a conversation about whether to build their nest there. It’s a perfect place, protected from the elements and predators.

They returned to that same spot for several days in a row. Don’t get me wrong, I love the birds. I just don’t want them nesting against our front door. Regretfully, I removed the wreath, to replace it later in the spring with one that’s more seasonal. I expect they were surprised when they returned to find their building site was no longer available.

I’ve purposely not written much about March in my Cozies, but now, after writing about this month of so many moods and faces, I begin to wonder why I’ve been avoiding it. Winter is ending, spring is on its way, and change happens rapidly. Hmm, could this be a metaphor, perhaps, for my next Cozy?

9 thoughts on “Mud Season by Karen Shughart

  1. Very true! Early this morning, I was outside slipping on our icy back yard but hearing the songbirds made me smile.


  2. Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment on my recent blog… very much appreciated! Karen


  3. Dear Karen,
    I enjoyed reading your blog describing our mud season here is Sodus Point. You poignantly described my thoughts of the joys of March and the welcoming sun and the longer days ahead. Happy Spring!


  4. Terrific post. You make the weather in March come alive. Put that in your books1 It can’t miss!


  5. Great post! I could see your world through your eyes. I agree with the March weather., Even here in SE Oregon we had three gorgeous sunny, warm days and today is rain, sleet, and fog. Weather can be a wonderful character in a book. Especially a mystery.


  6. It sounds like you have a wonderfully rich environment to complicate your stories–lots of weather that can help or hinder the protagonists. I know the area around the Canadian border and to me it was always miserably cold, except in the summer when it was brutally hot. I love your description of the lake in mud season. I hope you get to use it in a story.


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