A final leaf falls to conclude a muddy autumn, and mark the beginnning of a new, crisp season. The first snow, fallen just this morning, lies evenly untouched except for some tracks of a wandering fox, and the icy wind. The house is a very visible landmark against the dull brown of the trees and the bright white of the snow, and I shiver, glad for the warmth of the fire. The landscape is not dissimilar to that of a desert; barren, and almost totally lifeless.
Almost, that is, for the scurrying winter birds’ splayed claws prove their presence, and the light touch of an arctic fox proves his.
A few months later, I wake up and peer out of my window to see the first daffodil poke its yellow head through the melting snow. The crisp crust on the surface of the snow has vanished, and has been replaced with a watery, discoloured, slush. The snow continues to melt until it has totally disappeared, except for the odd white patch on the damp ground.
Spring has arrived. The weather continues to warm, and more plants flower. There are tentative buds to begin with, and as the season progresses they reveal their true vibrant colours with newfound confidence. The soggy ground begins to dry and crack, as the spring turns into summer, and whole mountains erupt in yellow cascades of dandelions and buttercups. The trees are showing off their bright green leaves, translucent emerald when the strong sun shines through.
Butterflies the size of my hand flutter, occasionaly landing on an especially bright flower. Streams babble through the forests, crystal clear apart from the black dabs in between, which are rocks. But this gorgeous natural display cannot last, and by mid September, everything is exhausted by this extraordinary performance, and the leaves yellow, the butterflies’ fluttering becomes increasingly laboured, and the mountains’ eruptions of yellow are subdued.
Forests turn entire mountainsides vermilion, and the broad leaf of the maple tree lets a reddish glow down to the forest floor. Mud takes semi-permanent residence on every uncovered piece of ground, and streams fill, roaring down mountains with new strength from the rains, which become increasingly frequent as the season progresses. The trees’ leaves fall, leaving the naked skeleton of forests visible. These are the four seasons of Vermont.