Daily Journey Journal #362: creatures of the hills

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Daily Journey Journal #323: spring winter

It snowed today, big fat flakes that make me think of winter. The town, only mere hours before a budding spring paradise, looks like a Christmas scene, everything blanketed in heavy, wet snow. But, we all know, it is a spring snow, so dense it breaks shovels and snaps off tree limbs if too much falls.

Today, the snow is our heart-breaker, a damper on our spirits and a heavy weight on our hopes. This summer though, it will be our savior, a line of defense between us and the drought that turns our prairies yellow and deprives our forests of water. It may be the storm that helps ward off the hunger of fires, the choking smoke of raging flames. Today, some may despise the snow, but that is not me. Today, I rejoice and cross my fingers for more, for enough to keep us green all the summer long.

Daily Journey Journal #304: not normal

From March 27, 2015

The snows are nearly all melted, the grasses unflattening themselves from the beds made by elk. Water runs across the fields, filling the ponds and overrunning the beaver dams. Flowers have already begun to bloom, purple and yellow.

It is March.

This is not normal.

This winter was so mild, in comparison to the winters of my childhood. The snows were less frequent, less lasting, the cold snaps shorter and seldom. We all kept waiting for real winter to happen, for those snow storms that leave all the roads in and out of town closed for days, for the winds that create blizzards, for the lasting colds that linger for weeks. But, it seems that winter has decided to head out early, leaving us in the dry windiness of spring without enough snow to last.

The warm, sunny days are greatly appreciated, as are the cleared paths in the mountains, but the beauty is alarming this time of year. It has me worried about the summer and the fires that have become the normal plague of the warm season. There is so much water now that by July and August it will be gone, dried to dust and the shrubs with it.

Today, as we run freely through the hills, I rejoice in being back running on the trails, but I can’t help but wonder if we’ll be able to do the same this summer. All I can hope is that our beloved hills and mountains, our prairies and plains, stay safe and that before summer really comes, we get another storm. A storm that will break our hearts, yes, but that will give us the water we need to stay safe all summer long.