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When I moved to Vermont from Ontario, Canada, in 2002, I had never heard of Mud Season. A city girl who spent summers at cottages on Lake Erie, before this move I lived my life on city streets, paved city streets, where the only impediments to traffic flow were rush hour congestion, spring flooding, winter blizzards, and the occasional parade or street party. I assumed my driving life on and around Stannard Mountain in Vermont’s Northeast King/Queendom would be much the same as it had been in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, and Hamilton, the Ontario cities of my former life.
We set up camp in the fall of 2002 and set about making a small cottage livable for the winter months. As I settled deep in these northern woods and explored its network of dirt roads, I scoffed at the isolation friends warned me about. After the bustle and noise of big-city life, I relished the peace of my new environment. This beautiful, sparsely populated rural setting felt like the ideal place to work on the novel I’d brought to Vermont to complete.
Far from feeling isolated, the long periods of silence and stillness nourished my writer’s soul. As fall gave way to winter, I made friends with my splitting maul and took long solitary walks in a frozen landscape that was both beautiful and intimidating. Barred owls, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and occasional visits from singing coyote packs thrilled me. It was the summer cottage experience of my youth expanded to bless all the seasons of my adult life. And then, winter shifted, warmed, prompted excitement about sugaring. That first year I was enchanted by the perfume of maple sap boiling down into syrup that is the epicenter of spring work in these Green Mountains. As I relished that sweet scent, I met Spring’s fiercest adversary: Mud Season.
Mud and Metaphor
The thaws and freezes that make maple sugaring businesses possible are at the heart of mud season in dirt-road territory. Think of snow seeping into a mix of stone and clay on a warm day. Add a rain storm. And then add car and truck traffic. During mud season, cars and trucks can sink up to their axles when conditions are right. Local tow-truck drivers do a booming business. And, despite multiple trips to the car wash, while the season lasts we can do very little to get rid of the perpetual grit of daily travel on roads not yet dried out to make travel uneventful.
As I move through the process of shifting gears to navigate the transition from college teacher to EFT trainer, mud season provides an apt metaphor for the stall I’ve experienced after an enthusiastic start. The grit and tough slogging through my own resistance feel like an inner mud season that sucks at my motivation and slows down my progress to a crawl. To get an inkling of how serious this resistance is, you might want to paste the following link in your browser and take a look at some of the images captured during Vermont’s infamous mud seasons: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/vermont/mud-season-vt/
Metaphorical Mud Navigational Tools
As I slog through my “inner mud,” tapping all the way, I can’t help but take a “glass half full” approach to the sticky resistance I feel regarding the major change I’ve invited into my life. First, having lived through numerous actual mud seasons at this point, I know that, as tough as this season is to live through, the tough slogging is temporary. One day, with the magic of sunshine and warm weather, the roads become miraculously dry. Even the cliff-like ruts caused during the thaw disappear thanks to the Houdini-like tricks of a man named Lucien, his red dump truck, and his grader. When mud season arrives, I mark my calendar to remind myself that all things pass.
I also look to my Vermont neighbours for the right attitude during mud season. Given the right clothes, going out to play in the mud is always an option for the young at heart. Because Vermont promotes respectful recreational use of our beautiful resources, ATVs are discouraged and even illegal, especially in sensitive areas where streams, ponds, and lakes are vulnerable to silty runoff. Still, the image of an old-time, rugged three-wheeler inspires me to create what I call my inner ATV. It has a big padded seat for comfort during during the bumpiest part of my ride, its wide front wheel takes its direction from Spirit, and its back wheels alternate between tapping and journaling. Spending time on my inner ATV during morning meditation ensures I cultivate the energy I need to ride out the season.
Full Moon ATV Wash
As it happens, I’m writing this blog on March 31, 2018, a full moon, the second this March, known as a Blue Moon. Full Moon energies help us to release any outdated, unwanted patterns, thoughts, and habits that no longer serve us. They shine a light on our desires and amplify our ability to make change, even in mud season. One of the ways to create a releasing ceremony is to imagine a beautiful waterfall in which we stand, open-hearted and open-handed in the waterfall’s flow, allowing its energies to carry away all that we feel eager and safe to release.
Sometimes I know what it is that is stalling me, but often I take it on faith that my waterfall is far more intelligent and loving than I. Showing up in my thickest coating of mud, my spiritual ATV wheels caked and barely moving, I stand beneath this spiritual flow and ask to let as much of the gritty impediments to my growth as are safe to relinquish flow into Mother Earth, ready to be used the next time I need a lesson in slowing down, trusting, and idling, at least for a time.
Until next time
Jane Buchan, MA Accredited, Certified Trainer NQT
Jane is a life coach, writer, and educator specializing in neutralizing the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as well as the cultural limitations that interfere with our ability to imagine, create, and live the lives we desire, especially as we age. To engage Jane for individual or group coaching services, AAMET Acredited, Certified Supervision sessions, or AAMET Level One and Two Training for your school or business, call Jane at (802) 533-9277 or email email@example.com.