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Wednesday, March 08, 2017


Last week chickadees and sparrows struggled at the feeders on a breezy, winter afternoon. Goldfinches had already started changing colors. One little critter, with his rump pointed north, took a gust under his feathers and flew off.

Two and a half months ago sugar plums danced in the heads of Christmas dreamers. As the world turns, visions of spring now dance in the heads of those tired of winter. Yes, indeed. Spring is just around the corner.

Turning from the winter wonderland outside to the calendar on the kitchen wall, the fine print indicates that daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 12. Holy cow! Some genius with too much time on his hands figured we might “save energy” by starting daylight saving time earlier than ever. So, March 12 paves the way for spring 2017.

Then, five days beyond the start of daylight savings time, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Now, there’s a day worth celebrating!

Two days beyond St. Patrick’s Day spring officially arrives. Hallelujah! There it is! We may be shoveling snow, but it will be with good cheer. The end of winter is in sight.

Three weeks hence comes the first day of Passover, then Good Friday, then Easter.

Before you know it Donation Day will arrive. Since tax day falls on Saturday, right in the middle of the Easter/Passover season, “Sam” graciously gave us until April 18 to tidy up our contribution.

One week after Easter and four days after Donation Day we are blessed with that manmade holiday -- Earth Day, April 22. That’s the Saturday wherein all who are so inclined may worship Mama Gaia.

At least one more snow storm could arrive probably in late April or early May just before the arrival of the real Mother’s Day. After that we can kiss Ol’ Man Winter good-bye.

So much for the calendar. But, who needs a calendar? Spring is coming and official reckoning isn’t necessary. One can feel it and can almost smell it. Even a casual observer can see Nature’s handwriting all around.

Within a week or two the Goldfinches will have completed changing colors. Those little guys are the real harbingers of spring. Then, the Great Migration of birds flying north will commence. Incredible!

Weeks of cool weather still lie ahead, but those weeks will be punctuated by days of warm sunshine. It won’t be long until the real snow melt runoff begins. First a drip, then a freeze, then a trickle. Before you know it rivulets and streams will fill potholes and dugouts with snowmelt.

The raw winds of March and April harbor seeds of hope. It won’t really be winter, but it won’t be summer, either. Still, the breeze holds the promise of better things to come. That is, of course, unless the breeze tells us a lie and carries with it a spring blizzard.

You know spring is on the way when farmers and ranchers reach for the obstetric chains. Calving time will be here and gone before you know it.

Then come the first rains, minus the snow flurries, and with them the smell of fresh earth. Even before the farm equipment begins the pilgrimage to the fields the spring air offers its wonderful scent.

For town’s folk, spring means checking the lawn mower (Can you say “cut the grass?”) and raking winter’s debris. Spring waits for no one, and if a person tarries they’ll need a grazing herd of goats to clean up the early growth.

Returning to winter’s reality, a line by Alexander Pope runs like this. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never is, but always to be blest.“ With spring just around the corner truer words were never spoken.

We live by cycles, we die by cycles, as round and round we go. There’s a brighter day a-coming and thankfully so.


Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at P. O. Box 337, Stanley, ND 58784 or (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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