Is it spring yet? Calendar says yes

Apr 4, 2013 By Betty Starks Case

Is it spring yet?

The calendar says we turned the corner two weeks ago. But during that time we awoke four successive mornings to a new sifting of snow on the ground.

I'm not discouraged, though. I'm convinced all this doubt is simply a ploy to make sure we appreciate the real thing. And we will.

Several tiny violets are in bloom on the south side of our house. They announce spring ahead of tulips or any other plant at our place and always bring my parents to mind. As long as they lived, my father watched for the first violet to bring in to my mother each spring.

Daily, I search the branches of the flowering almond for buds. It keeps us guessing. If we get a late frost, we see only a graceful green bush for the summer. If the shrub gets to bloom, the display brings gasps of wonder at the branches lush with pink blossoms reaching in every direction.

A robin danced around our yard several days last week, puffing his red breast into a colorful ball and calling out as if he had a prior appointment. Perhaps he did. Within two or three days, another robin appeared, and they seem to be discussing a potential nesting site in our stately blue spruce.

Our dear neighbors appear to be stricken with spring fever as well. They've purchased a country home with acreage, framed on one side by a deep ravine and trees and wildlife everywhere.

Their new home is closer to the river so they'll awaken to songs of the coyotes and sandhill cranes that I enjoy on early morning hikes in that direction. I love the sounds. And yes, I am a bit envious.

Our friends saw a colorful rooster pheasant strutting across their country yard one day, and the trees will soon be alive with birds of every kind and color just as they were at the farm we called Pheasant Crest.

We're missing that loved country home all over again.

But there are many aspects to this season, and spring enlivens us in many ways.

In the past couple of years, the Methodist Church men have re-enacted The Last Supper for any and all who wish to attend on the Thursday before Easter.

The drama begins at a long table with bearded men seated around it representing Jesus and his disciples, dressed in robes made by women of the church. The scene pulls you back to the reality of that time and place as each disciple rises, identifies himself and his relationship with Christ, each wondering if (and fearing he might be) the one destined to betray his beloved Master.

If you haven't seen this deeply moving drama, you might wish to experience it sometime.

Easter dinner? We decided to forgo restaurant buffet this year. My mate loves picnics and eagerly awaits the first one of the season. So after a beautiful early morning church service, we bought fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and dessert from a deli and drove up Sinks Canyon for our first picnic of the season. A bit early for flowers, but still a lovely place to eat to the tinkling spring song of the Popo Agie, still partly covered with snow and ice.

We've seen little wildlife except deer in the canyon since Bam Bam, the famous mountain sheep, died. But we did meet him. He leaves memories to treasure.

We were, in fact, privileged to a prime seat at one of Bam Bam's head-to-head battles with a car (not ours) in Sinks Canyon several years ago. We were directly behind the car he chose to play games with. And we stayed there to watch a performance recorded on video that appeared in several foreign countries and National Geographic magazine.

My theory is that when Bam Bam's herd all died, he found another type of herd (human) and tried his best to relate. His way of communicating was a good head butt and automobiles seemed the only critters in this new clan willing to participate.

Now, what of my outdoor man and the spring breeze that fills his sails this time of year?

I can see he's had quite enough of long winter days inside this house. Any day that the sun shines a bit warm, he's outside pulling and pushing at old growth on perennial yard plants, making space for new life to reach into the sun.

I've reminded him that he really doesn't need to raise a full garden anymore. But I know that once his muscles are attuned to outdoor work, he will be quite happy and fulfilled with helping those dry garden seeds grow into fresh edible food. The miracle never grows old.

And the deer will rejoice.

And I'll try to rescue what's left for our table.

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