Signs of spring

This spring seems to be inspiring my friends even though it has been rather strange weather so far. April has had its share of blizzards and although there is no blizzard warning, the forecast is for it to start snowing tonight and through the day tomorrow, leaving us with 2 to 3 inches of the white stuff. I did get my lawn mowed for the first time and I’ve switched the places of the lawn mower and snow blower in the shed. Usually I don’t have to switch them back, but we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, I have friends who seem to have a touch of spring fever. One family with two daughters, aged 3 and 5 have been visiting a litter of puppies. There are four puppies in the litter and they have already decided that one of them will be coming to live in their home. I’m not sure that they have decided which puppy will be theirs, but the girls are definitely excited. It was a real joy to listen as they told me that they are getting a new puppy and all about the puppies they visited. Another couple around our ages have adopted a kitten from the shelter. I received a photo of the husband resting in his chair with a little black ball of fluff in his lap. Both the kitten and the new owner seemed to be very happy about the deal. Another family, a blended household with a bunch of teens, discovered that one of the boys in the family had always wanted a cat, but had never had one. When they began to talk the other boy said he had always wanted a cat, too. The result is two new kittens moving into their home.

I’m happy for the friends and happy for the animals. Animals make good companions and are wonderful teachers for children about responsibility and life. We don’t happen to have any animals living in our house at the moment, though we have a couple of “grand” dogs and I’m particularly fond of my sister’s dog as well. Not being responsible for animals fits into our current lifestyle with us traveling quite a bit. But I am grateful for the animals who have lived in our home. When our daughter went off to college and on with her life, it was no burden to have her cats living in our home and when the cats came to the ends of their lives it was a sad time for us.

I’m not sure that having friends who are adopting animals is a sure sign of spring, but the calendar is advancing. May will be here this week. The grass is green and it looks like spring outside. And all of us are ready for warmer weather after the winter that has passed. The church budget could sure use a dose of relief from snowplow bills.

Part of the joy of living where we do is the new life that bursts forth every spring. Yesterday I watched as a calf at the neighbor’s place was butting its mother with its head, She lowered her head to the calf, who made a small bump and then kicked its heels and ran around to nurse. Watching the calves is great and we have the advantage of being neighbors, so I don’t have any responsibilities for care of the animals. They have quite a menagerie with a few angus, a few highland cattle, a single miniature donkey, a few horses and some longhorns thrown in for entertainment.

The deer will begin dropping their fawns, but not for another 30 days or more. You can tell which does will deliver if you see them from the front or rear. The bulges aren’t quite as obvious from the side view yet, but things are definitely developing. We usually have one or two fawns born right next door where a neighbor doesn’t mow. Most years we can watch them from our kitchen window.

I’ve visited places there there isn’t much variation in the seasons. In Costa Rica the biggest variation in the weather is how much rain falls. The temperatures don’t change that much. They never see snow. We were talking on the phone with a friend in Australia who said his grandson looked at pictures of our winter and declared, “Poppa, I need to visit America when they have snow! I’ve never been to real snow!” The grandson came on a visit with his dad and grandparents when he was 4 years old and remembers some of the things we did. I’m not sure that he knows that we don’t go camping much in the winter, but I’m pretty sure he’d enjoy a winter visit.

I count myself as lucky to live where the seasons change and where we get real snow. But I’m a bit tired of snow this year and don’t really need to have more. I’ve begun walking more now that the weather is nice and I’m ready to continue that pattern. I’m not excited about heavy coats and hats and gloves right now.

One of the gifts of weather is that it serves as a reminder that we are not in charge of the world. There are forces and powers that are beyond our control. The world does not center on me. That’s a good reminder for me from time to time.

New animals will teach lessons about providing care for other creatures. They will help children and teens and even us elder folks to remember that we are not alone and that we need to learn to focus our attention on the needs of others. I can name a few politicians who might do well to learn such lessons. Perhaps we should have free kitten day at the legislature once a year. I’m pretty sure that is another of my ideas that won’t take hold.

Rest assured folks. Spring will come in its own time, at its own pace. And this year, we’re ready for it.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!