Spring

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Today the window I looked through was anticipation of spring. Walking on break, I heard the unmistakable trill of sandhill cranes flying north. My heart leaped; sandhills going north is a sure indicator of spring. Going south in the fall, they signal winter. I caught sight of the flock for just an instant before they were lost against the blinding bright sky.

Bart took me for a nice walk after work this balmy evening. People and dogs were everywhere, eager to release a winter’s pent up activity on this, the first truly spring-like day. The twenty inches of snow released green as it retreated. My garden sprouts with hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and paper-whites. Soon, riotous blooms will show in wild extravagance.

Later, we took our before-bed short walk in the open field across from my house. The air as we went down the steps smelled of rain—somewhere. As I stood at the end of the leash while Bart “read” the notes left on a bush by other animals, I looked up at the night sky. It was so clear and bright that I could almost feel the earth rotating beneath my feet and see the stars spinning above me.

Then I caught the honk of geese. Our local resident, over-wintering geese do not fly at night. They go out to forage after daybreak and come home to roost before dusk. These geese flew with a purpose, day and night, focused on reaching the summer nesting grounds. I saw the ghostly gray vee above me against the navy blue sky.

I felt connected to the history that has gone before me as well as the history that will go on beyond me, the consistent circle of season following season. This was proof that God is in His heaven, that hope springs fresh, dawn after darkness.

One of my favorite poems by Carl Sandburg says:
I want to do the right thing, but often I don’t know just what the right thing is. Every day I know I have come short of what I would like to have done. Yet as the years pass and I see the very world itself, with its oceans and mountains and plains, as something unfinished, a peculiar little satisfaction hunts out the corners of my heart. Sunsets and evening shadows find me regretful at tasks undone, but sleep and the dawn and the air of the morning touch me with freshening hopes. Strange things blow in through my window on the wings of the night wind and I don’t worry about my destiny.

 

 

Through My Window – Kansas Sunsets

Tonight, the window through which I viewed the world was Bart the dog walking me. We’d both been needing it for a while. I’d been under the weather with the respiratory stuff, either too busy, too cold, or too sickly to let him walk me in the past couple of weeks. So tonight felt good.

And then we saw the sunset. Started out with a blue the color of the sky blue crayon, and the clouds (no rain, but moisture) and a translucent peach the color of peach jello. I could hear the terrain underfoot—crunching buffalo grass, the slippery pine needles, the rasp of the sandy soil against paved parts of the alley. By the time we got down the alley to the hill across from the house, the blue of the sky had paled and the peach turned to crimson. As one color grew stronger, the other had to fade, yin and yang.
And then there was the fact that the temperature from the low this morning to the high late this afternoon was 39 degrees. Ah, Kansas. What did you see today that resonated with you?

Through My Window – Dads

When I woke up today and looked out my bedroom window, I was thinking about fathers. My sister-in-law just lost her father this week, and a friend learned her father is in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. It made me thankful for the wonderful times I had with my father, as I tagged along at his heel while he went about his work on the farm.

All those times we went traipsing through the pasture looking for a cow, I remember finding ripe persimmons, gooseberries and blackberries, but never a cow. I remember “driving” the pickup back from the pasture seated on his lap. And “driving” the tractor while he and my brother tossed hay bales onto the wagon. On trips to the sale barn to buy calves, I always sat on my hands to keep from making any move that could be considered a bid. When our purchases were done and paid for, we went to the auction barn café for a piece of pie. Dad never got a piece for himself, or a donut for that matter. He always said he’d just take a bite or two of mine, a bite that ended up being half of whatever we had ordered. I really didn’t mind, because we had such adventures.

Trips to the grain elevator in Hepler, where I watched the pickup load of wheat run like a golden river into the belly of the elevator. The smell of leather saddles, bridles and other gear at the feed store. How the smell of sweet feed almost made me wish I was a horse or cow—until I smelled the fried chicken or chocolate cake my mom was famous for. I remember helping Dad load the pickup with hay we’d bought, so proud when I got strong enough to stack it four high myself. The imagination I use as a writer developed when I stayed at the truck while Dad worked the different fields. That pickup bed became a ship, or a tree house, or a cabin in the woods, or a smoke spotter’s tower.

My brother was old enough to leave home for a full-time job about the time I was old enough to be a little help tagging along with dad. I doubt I was much help, but I’ll always treasure those times. I’m thankful to have had a father who was a dad. I hope that what I learned at his heel made me a better mom, a better writer and a better person.