Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Has Returned

There's a common expression about the transition from winter the spring, and it is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
That expression holds true except for one minor detail - in Wyoming you must change March to May.
The past month has been a month in a state of total flux, with snow one day and warmth the next.
A continual, seemingly never-ending cycle of snow, cold, warm, melt.
But for the last week we have now (finally) had consistent temperatures running in the high 60's.
Spring I think has finally and irrevocably arrived.
It is hard to believe that next month will officially be summer.
And that in only a few more months it will be cold all over again.
The wood stove that we have been using non-stop since the few first days in October of last year is finally cold.
I took these pictures sometime last week when we were still living in the bizarro world between seasons.
It snowed heavily all one day and into the night and covered the ground around us, and the high desert plains of BLM land that surrounds us.
The snow makes the beauty of the area seem even more beautiful.
It moves the quiet of Cody into the silence of Cody, and I snapped these pictures during a quick walk up our now-disgustingly-bone-jarring washboard of a dirt road.
During this kind of weather I don't ever see any other human outside.
Does that fact speak directly about other humans or about me?
Regardless, I walked briefly in the snow, mesmerized (as I always am) by just how different this familiar world looks to me when this isolated mountain town is completely socked in and alone.
Seemingly separate from the rest of the entire world.
Ultimately is that the bottom line draw of this place for me?
Right now I lack both the ability for introspection and the desire to find an answer to that question.
For now, just asking the question is enough.
Although it snows often, snow does not last for very long in Cody, even in the winter.
But as I wandered down our road sometime last week I realized that recent snows are different from those we had only a couple of months ago.
We live in such a dry environment and winter snow is so dry that it is almost powerdery.  Light enough to literally blow away in the strong winds, as opposed to melting in place.
Nobody builds snowmen here or throws snowballs here in the winter, and I think it is because the snow is so dry that it won't hold together well enough either for snowball fights or Frosty Snowmen.
In May though, the snow is heavy and wet, and when it melts it leaves mud in its wake.
Our neighbor's shed.............
When my youngest son Chris waded down the center of a deep creek at the age of 12 to retrieve this heavy "treasure chest" that he found while walking the dog, I don't think that he ever imagined his gift to me would see so much of the country.
I never imagined it either.
My treasure chest (which I think is actually an old strong box) has traveled from Tennessee to Alaska to Wyoming to Tennessee to Wyoming.
It is rusty and very heavy and unspeakably beautiful, and it will always be with me because when I look at it, I see my boy.
He was a tall, gangly boy at the time, who would literally bang into walls because he couldn't keep up with just how fast he was growing.
He worked hard to dig it out from the bottom of a thigh deep creek, and struggled to get it back to shore so that he could give it to me.
It's priceless and truly is a treasure chest............
Standing in back of the house and looking out over the valley below me.
All the mountains that circle around us were gone - disappeared in the clouds and snow..........
The beautiful wagon at the end of the driveway.
It badly needs some loving attention before it begins to irrevocably disintegrate in the unrelenting summer sun.
But it is not ours, and it will likely never receive the attention it needs................
The beautiful wagon a week later............
A few days ago Jamie was sitting beside the front door, looking outside through the screen door we recently put back up, in anticipation of (finally) warm weather.
When my sweet girl suddenly stood up and began to growl I walked over to her, anticipating the sight of either a cat or a bunny outside.
There are a few cats that roam the neighborhood, and there are scores of rabbits that bounce and play in the pastures of the local homes, and Jamie would happily tear them apart if she could ever get at any of them.
As I looked outside I suddenly realized what she was growling about - a herd of seven mule deer that were quietly grazing in the pasture next door to us.
I quickly grabbed for my shoes and my camera and walked outside, leaving my dog behind...............
Slowly and quietly walking down the front steps I headed towards the fence, certain that I would startle the small herd, and that they would run off at any moment.
Surprisingly they did not.
The deer that live in the are (much as the deer that reside in town) are almost like neighborhood pets.
They wander safely from yard to yard chewing on the grass and trees and bushes and flowers, certain in their safety among the human residents that they share this space with.
People do not intentionally hurt them, and somehow they sense that..........
By the time I had made it right up to the fence the leader of the herd knew that I was there.
She watched me attentively for a few moments and I stood perfectly still, watching her just as closely, hoping that I did not scare her and force her to lead her herd away.
Eventually she went back to grazing, the others followed her lead, and I stood and watched them for a few minutes, greatly enjoying this unexpected encounter so close to home.............
There was no sudden movement.  No sudden indication of danger.
Still, without warning the herd (as one) stopped grazing, turned, and headed across the front pasture.
They were headed towards the fence.
As I watched them slowly running for the fence I could picture their next moves in my mind.
Stop at the fence line.  One by one effortlessly jump the fence.  Either cross over the dirt road, jump another fence and begin grazing in a new pasture, or run down the side of the road until they disappeared on BLM land.
I walked to the end of the driveway............
Click on the picture to enlarge it.  The leader had already cleared the fence and was standing in the middle of the road waiting for the remainder of the herd to join with her.............
One of our neighbors with Carter Mountain in the background.  This mountain range is 50 miles away.............
I didn't try to get closer to them.
Instead I watched them as they wandered slowly in single file along the road.................
Spring is springing................
A look back at the house we rent, the wagon, our trucks, Rattlesnake Mountain.............

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems..........Rainer Maria Rilke

No comments:

Post a Comment