Candy-Coated Spring

Stillwater Diary, April 21, 2017

It takes Spring a long time to get to Stillwater. While she’s firing fruit trees into spectacular bloom in Fort Collins and greening up grass in Cheyenne, she drops a waiting hush over the mountains, hinting at the pleasures to come with a few scattered wildflowers – the poetically-named Lanceleaf Springbeauty is almost always the first – but the season refuses to make a real commitment.

All week, I’ve been gritting my teeth and resisting the garden. I know it’s not time to plant yet. The brave little daffodils who popped their cheery heads out of the soil last week will wilt away with their yellow cups filled to the brim with snow, but still the foolish early bloomers called to me, begging me to bring them some friends from the colorful array of annuals displayed at the Cheyenne hardware stores.

What is it with Wyoming hardware stores, anyway? Surely the powers-that-be at Home Depot and Lowe’s know the plants they sell this time of year are doomed to die. There should be a law against selling poor helpless annuals to unknowing Wyoming newcomers, because anything we plant before late May will die.

Here’s proof! This is our back deck today, with little Harper watching for birds.

We were supposed to have our neighborhood Happy Hour today. Living up here, you need your neighbors, and monthly get-togethers that bounce from one house to another have proven to be a great way to stay in touch. But in the winter months, they’re often postponed – like today’s – because the road looks like this.

That’s the road to town, in a photo taken by my husband. I refused to leave the house, because snow days are precious things, and town is the last place I want to be when my world looks like a Christmas card.

The dogs and I had a good walk, but we had to be careful. The trees are loaded with heavy, damp snow that clings to the branches until whump! Down it comes, on your head. It always reminds me of the warrior trees in Lord of the Rings, because I swear i’m a target!

But we persevered, and the dogs had a good time playing in the snow. So did I!

As I write this, it’s just past 4:00 p.m., and the sun is out. The trees have dumped all their snowballs, making piles at their feet that are quickly melting, and the roads are clearing quickly. Emerging from a deep snow always feels a little like waking from a dream–one where the world is candy-coated, time stands still, and all that matters is playing fetch, taking pictures, and memorizing the beauty of an unexpected storm.