I’m in My Season of the Sticks

Do you ever have a song come into your life at just the right moment that it feels a little bit like destiny? No matter how many times you listen to it, it isn’t enough, and despite the knowledge that you can just repeat it with a click of a button, you mourn the ending when it comes.

That’s how I’m feeling about the song “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan. The song is about a breakup with a significant other – and while I can’t relate on a romantic level – I have been through somewhat of a breakup this year and the line that resonates the most with me is:

“I love Vermont, but it’s the season of the sticks.”

If you’ve ever lived in New England you know how dreary and desolate winter can be. It gives way to a gorgeous spring, summer and fall, but to enjoy the brilliant greens and blues of a New England summer requires a slog through the grey, prolonged New England winter.

I’m in my own stick season right now. I can see glimpses out of the winter – like an afternoon in late Feb./early March that holds the promise of spring – but I’m not quite there yet. I’m trying to be ok with that. Some days it’s easier said than done. I’m thankful to be at a point where I recognize I am better off where I am, but am still unsure of my destination.

I thought I was ready to work again. I even took on a somewhat seasonal job with a campaign that lasted an entire week because I recognized – somewhat frustratingly – that I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t what was best for me. But, as a friend pointed out, there was growth in recognizing and respecting my boundaries and speaking up after only one week. I have a habit of giving and giving myself to a job- to the determent of my family and my health. I think that’s what makes it so hard when something doesn’t go the way I thought it would. Or when someone doesn’t give the effort or care that I do. It’s one of my more frustrating Capricorn traits.

I had a such a different vision for 2022. And while I know this version isn’t necessarily bad and there are lessons to be taken from all experiences, sometimes it’s difficult to imagine any growth appearing on those trees anytime soon. But, like a tree that appears dormant, changes are occurring even before we see that first bloom. Snow is melting around the base of the trunk allowing sunshine to infiltrate the dark bark and warm it up. The melting snow is absorbed by the roots, working its way up the trunk, waking up everything that has been stored for months and months in the tree. With that will come new leaf creation and then flowering blooms. They seem like such a delightful surprise at the time, but really they are the product of cycles, months of hard work.

It’s a reminder that even when I feel stagnant, I’m always growing. I may not be able to see the forest through the trees, this may not be what I thought 34 would look like, but who correctly predicts what any age will look like and where’s the fun in that?

I know there’s some repetition in my writing recently. A lack of plan, a feeling of being untethered, and now, identifying the season I’m in. Maybe it’s all just part of my process. Maybe there will be more to write about at some point. Maybe it’s ok that this is all I have to give right now. I need to respect when I need to be dormant so I have the ability to bloom when it’s time.

I love my life, but it’s the season of the sticks.


2 thoughts on “I’m in My Season of the Sticks

  1. I can relate to this literally and figuratively as someone who lives in Vermont and as someone who is waiting to make my next great career move.

    I love summer and fall is my favorite season but it’s always followed by a sad two months of bare trees before winter kicks in. I live in a small town outside of a popular ski town, Stowe. It’s crazy with tourists except for stick season. As much as I dislike this odd in-between season I’ve come to appreciate the solitude and quiet it provides. It’s nice to have my favorite hiking trail to myself and to enjoy the local restaurants and shops without the crowds.

    I’m trying to do the same with my current job, using this less exciting time to catch my breath and grow my skills for my next adventure.


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