Spring Kickstarter


It’s cold up here. Sure, it’s technically spring but after the winter we’ve had I finally reached my breaking point. The season needed a kick-start. On Sunday I packed up the kids and headed south in search of spring temperatures. Highs into the 60s sounded as good as any sunny vacation destination. Plattsburgh might not see those numbers on the thermometer until the next season change so we left the winter coats behind and headed for Saratoga.

School this week was spent exploring parks and trails spongy with spring thaw. Soft cool mud, sharp green shoots showing eager in the soil, flowing water filling every downward crevice. It is almost criminal for a child to spend early spring stuck behind a desk in a classroom when there is a world waking up outside the window. Even in the early darkness of the day there is a promise of warmth on the air.

Mornings we were roused by the clear, bright calls of birds. The girls scavenged the woods for boats of bark, vines and feathers to sail along the Kayaderosseras. The stream in early spring is rough and fast, drinking greedily of winter melting along its banks. A rainy day was spent indulging in the Saratoga Springs library collection. I imagine my feeling walking through the aisles in the children’s section is akin to what some women must feel walking through shoe stores or peering into jewelry cases. On any given subject there are stacks of titles.

After the girls went to bed I had a few nights to catch up with modern culture and old friends. I went on my own to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. I like going to the movies alone and a late night showing on a Monday meant I had the entire theater to myself, which in and of itself felt like a scene out of a Wes Anderson film. Equally as enjoyable was the drive through town that night, streets gleaming black with rain and Smiths on the radio. But I wasn’t a total loner. Another evening I caught up with a friend over a $20 cheese plate (her treat). We were both in need of a good conversation. And aged cheddar.

And though my sister is 30 weeks pregnant we got in one late night hangout. Over cups of Honey Lavender tea I tried to convince her of the brooding grunge and cynicism of 90s music. She countered with the mix of emo and hardcore that saw her through her teen years. In the end we both remained loyal to our generation. Perhaps that is inevitable. For my sister and I it is compounded by the fact that we have nearly a decade between us. We weren’t peers until adulthood, so we’ve had to catch up. Turns out playground swings are fun at any age.

The trip north at the end of the week was sunny, the girls peaceful and quiet the entire drive. The earth is emerging from its cocoon of cold and snow, however gradual in the heart of the Adirondacks. Even the stoic blue walls of ice on the mountainsides are beginning to trickle. We returned to the North Country refreshed after a week of sun and rest and relaxation. Vitamin D and laughter were just what we needed to release the remnants of a long, dark winter.

This article was originally published on UpstatelyNY.com, used with permission. Photo by N.E. Swinton. 

N.E. Swinton

I grew up on the outskirts of a small mill town where visiting The City meant driving an hour to Albany. I have a liberal arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. I currently make my home in a majestic little place on the corner of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.