Monday, March 22, 2010

Whose First Day of Spring?

I heard on the news that spring arrived yesterday, Saturday, March 20th. At 7 AM Saturday morning, I was having a cup of coffee by our kitchen stove. I leaned over to look at the thermometer and it read minus two. And the day before, I awoke to six inches of new snow outside my window which fell on top of close to two feet still on the ground around my house and in the meadows. When I later went for a walk, I wore my down parka, a hat, and gloves. Gusts of twenty mile an hour wind blew right through my 20x jeans as Griz, Emma, and I periodically pushed through drifted snow on the road.

I’m not sure the weather people have it right. Spring here at ranch arrives of its own accord. We watch with an eagle eye for it to come in earnest: the driveway stays mud-less for the better part of a week; the meadows recede and hopeful blades of grass begin to color the valley floor; my crocus peak out knowing their timing is right, but they just might get a dusting of snow before their show is over; and finally, after anticipating the arrival of our foals, we watch in awe as they struggle to stand and nurse.

One wives' tale about the real arrival of spring here in North Routt goes something like this: if we measure the depth of the snow in our meadows on March 25th, the number of inches will equate to the number of days until our meadows are clear. In our experience, this more accurately equates with the first day of spring. We follow this rite every year and over a period of twenty-six years it comes close to marking the arrival of our spring season here at the ranch.

So, this coming Friday the 25th, I’ll eagerly begin counting.

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