The Roundup -

Four Seasons


April 18, 2018 | View PDF

I sat at my desk a few weeks ago looking out my window watching the snow fall. My mood turned as sour as curdled milk as those fluffy white flakes kept slowly but steadily falling out of the sky. If the calendar said November, I’d smile as the ground turned white. I’d pull out a latch hook project to start, gather good books for winter reading, haul out the toboggan, make sure my insulated boots stood ready by the door, and my thoughts would turn with pleasure to all sorts of upcoming winter activities.

But it isn’t November, it is April, and the thrill I feel with the arrival of the first snowfall dissipated months ago. Snow in March or later produces nothing but gloom. I’m tired of winter.

I’m not alone. Every second person I meet has negative comments about this winter season. The desire for warm weather, watching flowers bloom, the ability to actually see bare ground, smile as goslings swim in the pond, the raucous call of returning cranes, the greening up of yards, all this and more fires everyone up with expectations of a new season. At this point we all have very bad cases of spring fever.

However, when I stop to think about it, I’m grateful for this climate and its four seasons. Life would lose some spice if every day the temperatures ranged between 50 and 80 degrees. By the time one season ends here in Montana, I’m anticipating the interval to come. How could I appreciate the other three seasons quite so much if I didn’t experience winter? I actually do like winter, I just want it to go away by the time April rolls around.

Spring. I can’t wait. I will pull out the T-shirts I haven’t seen or worn for six months. I will haul out the bike and get it ready for excursions. I anticipate the arrival of songbirds returning to the area, I enjoy watching the leaves budding out on the trees, and I will note with chagrin the emerging spotted knapweed that eluded my spray gun the previous year. Spring allows me to discard my mid hiking boots for low summer hiking shoes instead. My husband cleans birdhouses, readying them for spring arrivals. Then comes the rain, the mud, the disappearance of blue skies to dismal spring overcast and rain clouds. Somewhere in here we might even experience our first thunderstorm of the season.

The rain ushers in summer, which I greet with unfettered joy. The long day length, waking in the morning to bird song, the ability to work on outside projects, watching adult birds feed their nestlings, hiking and biking, all provide great pleasure. Even attacking those pesky knapweed plants that survived the spring spraying (which seems to be about 99% of them), provides contentment and peace. Swatting mosquitoes and dealing with garden pests just comes with the territory we call summer, and I love it.

The hot dry days of August suit me just fine. The great brown-off begins in the summer heat, the threat of forest fires keeps everyone slightly edgy, and by the end of August, most of us in Virginia City are heartily sick of tourists and look forward to the time they head home and give us our town back.

So, by September I am ready for bittersweet autumn. I love the feel of fall in the air, the scents unique to a fall day, the fact that another harvest has made it to the bins and bales of hay stand stacked and waiting for livestock’s winter feeding. However I know autumn will not last. Summer has passed in a whirl, and we now face the downhill slide to winter. Fall provides a marvelous few months which help us mentally prepare for the coming period of cold weather and long dark nights. Autumn’s crisp cool days, leaves a riot of gorgeous color against the azure blue sky, birds flocking for their journey southward, the acrid smoky scent of burning leaves, all blend together as part of this farewell-to-summer, hello-winter time of year. The garden has been put to bed, the larder contains the fruits of summer toil, I no longer hear the chirping of birds at dawn, and everything prepares in its own way for the approaching winter.

Then one morning I look out the window to see white puffs floating silently to the ground, and winter begins again. Aha, time to line up winter projects, fire up the wood stove, and hunker down for several months of cold weather.

Four seasons. What would I do without them?


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