Mother Earth News Blogs > Homesteading and Livestock

Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

River Rages During Spring Melt

By Bethann Weick

Tags: spring, flooding, New Hampshire, Bethann Weick,

Change.  Sometimes subtle, sometimes bold; when it comes to the transition from winter to spring, certain signs are unmistakable.  There are the gradually warming temperatures, where thirty-five degrees feels like t-shirt weather.  There is the slushy snow, that leave us slip-sliding our way through the woods - one misstep off the packed trail and we’re in over our knees.  There is the earthy smell of bark and buds as the freeze gives way to thaw and trees regain the subtle but sure aroma of live wood.The river awakens

And then there is the sound of water.  There is the drip-drip-drip as snow melts off our low shed roof.  There is the plip-plip-plip as rainwater collects in buckets beside the cabin.  And best of all, the rush of water over ice as the river awakens.

It’s hard to catch the exact moment.  Try as we might, we never pin-point it to a precise beginning.  But at some point we recognize the flow of water, quiet but undeniable as it joins the rest of our senses.  With each step outside, a new sound defines our world.  It gains strength, force; like a breeze blowing closer, the river pushes it’s way towards the surface from deep underneath the ice.  What begins as the echo of a trickle, makes its way on top of the ice, flowing over, under, around.

And then it breaks free.  A rush becomes a roar; ice is thrown asunder, trees that dare to be in the river’s path are flung downstream, boulders are dislodged, banks disregarded and rearranged.  Now, there is no turning back.  The change that has been subtle in becoming, is sure in arriving.  With water reaching its full power, it cannot now be easily tamed nor frozen again, not until the calendar has turned toward the next winter.

And so spring is here, with freshness and with force.  Creation and destruction, power and beauty; the water is alive.  And so the denouement of winter tosses us right to the strength of spring.

The river begins to swell as snow and ice melt

Spring is here! Time to prune your fruit trees, berry bushes, and ornamental shrubs! Time to design your garden! Time to purchase new nursery stock! Contact Beth via for your garden and orchard needs.