• The promise of spring
    March 24,2013
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    Wednesday was a good day. Thatís when spring arrived.

    To be more precise, according to the experts at Google, 7:02 a.m. Wednesday. I could feel the change wash over me as the winter faded away and spring took hold.

    Then I looked outside and remembered I had to get out the snowblower because the driveway was still buried.

    As it should be in Vermont on March 20.

    The Vernal Equinox is the point when daylight begins to overtake night. Itís when those early sunrises and 8 p.m. sunsets are born.

    For me, and many others I know, spring is the beginning. Itís when the year starts.

    Governments tend to work off of fiscal years. I consider Spring through Winter to be my natural year.

    Last week, I turned over the books on another natural year and with it comes the beginning of another season of outdoor fun.

    Of course we have the beginning of fishing season with the trout and salmon season opener, catch-and-release angling for bass and then walleye opener. Soon, the highlight of the spring for many people ó the spring turkey season launches May 1.

    Of course, hikers and backpackers will be watching for all this snow to turn to mud and thus render much of the stateís trail system unhikeable for a while. But thatís a good problem because it means the snowpack in the mountains will be flushing rivers and keeping lakes and ponds full.

    And like opening day of baseball where every team is in first place and even the Red Sox have a chance to win the World Series, spring is a time of hope and promise.

    This will be the year we catch that 10-pound largemouth bass or that 20-inch trout. Maybe this is the year weíll finally tag that 200-pound buck. Or hike the entire length of the Long Trail. Or teach our kids to ski.

    Anything is possible.

    One thing I hope we are all considering is how we can spend more time outdoors with our family and, in particular, your kids. We have a choice as to whether we want to go hiking or fishing. But kids need someone to take them.

    A great first step would be registering to attend the Becoming an Outdoor Family weekend in a little more than a month.

    The three-day event will be May 31 to June 2 at Stillwater State Park in Groton Forest.

    Learn hands-on outdoor skills in hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, shooting, orienteering, photography, forestry while learning about wildlife.

    The registration deadline is May 17 and the fee is $175 for your family of up to eight people.

    You can learn all about the program at www.uvm.edu/extension/outdoorfamily, which includes full descriptions of the classes.

    And if youíre curious, thatís the weekend after Memorial Day.

    I canít imagine a better way.

    And if your plans are to catch bigger fish this year, take a look at the Vermont state records. Three new state records were added last year ó a 35-pound, 15-ounce channel catfish from Lake St. Catherine; an 8.81-pound burbot from Lake Champlain; and a 1.25-pound pumpkinseed from Bomoseen.

    What will be the record fish caught this year?

    Will you be the one to best the 10-pound, 4-ounce state record largemouth? Or maybe the 6-pound, 13-ounce smallmouth? What about a 5-pound, 4-ounce brook trout?

    Itís going to be a great year. You can feel it in your bones ó if your bones have thawed out yet from clearing the driveway.

    Donít worry.

    The snow will melt, the streams will clear up, the trails will dry. Itís going to be a great year. A natural year. And itís just getting started.

    Contact Darren by email at darren@darrenmarcy.com or at www.DarrenMarcy.com.
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