My wife and I are in the habit of taking ourselves out on a roundabout ramble: a circuitous loop that meanders through town, before turning eastward, up the canyon road, then north, through a sprawling scrubland of junipers, then finally westward, and back down toward the town.
We go romping ‘round this loop most days, usually bundled against the cold; some days with ice-cleats clamped to the bottoms of our shoes; and on other days, just coming home muddy.
It is a routine that we sometimes undertake a bit grudgingly: “Well, come on,” one of us will suddenly bark. “Let’s go get it done.”
Today’s march began like one of those: the sky was gloomily overcast and a cold wind was blowing. “Well, come on,” my wife insisted. “Let’s go get it done.”
It was cold enough that we began our meander through town wearing heavy jackets and wool beanies, trudging dutifully past the familiar “pop-pop-pop” of the local gun-range, then northward through the junipers, both bent upon a dogged tramping of those 5,000 remaining paces that separated us from the warmth and shelter of home—a mulish determination to simply, “Get it done.”
But then we turned a fateful corner—emerging from the trees, a sharp left, and westward… and everything was transformed, unexpectedly, abruptly, as if by magic. The sun burst felicitously from its hiding place; that bitter and bracing wind had suddenly become a gentle and welcome breeze; and the westward views were expansive and soul-stirring—from the snow-capped majesty of Mount Nebo to the north, to that distinctively lovely Horseshoe Mountain to the south, with the entire length of the stunning San Pitch range in between.
“I feel like I’m walking through a pastoral painting,” I exclaimed. “Yes,” my wife agreed. “Like that scene in ‘Mary Poppins’ when they all jumped magically into that chalk-drawn landscape!”
Jackets were instantly shed and tied around waists, as clouds—which had appeared dark and menacing just moments before—were transformed into fluffy, friendly billows, providing the perfect backdrop for a soaring hawk, which appeared out of nowhere, screeching excitedly over our bemused heads.
Stubborn snow in surrounding pastures was in rapid retreat, revealing underlying carpets of vibrant green on every side. And, while our dirt-road pathway was still inescapably muddy, even this inconvenient slop felt now of the “mud-lucious” variety, and the positively “puddle-wonderful,” of that famous E. E. Cummings poem.
Birdsong seemed suddenly to fill the air all around us, and even those typically scolding warbles from our local rafter of wild turkeys seemed somehow a little more friendly and cheery as we passed their usual haunt.
Our daily walk, which had started as a persevering wintry trudge, was miraculously metamorphosed into a sunny and satisfying springtime saunter—our very steps transformed from a plodding shamble to a bounding jubilation!
We know, of course, that in months to come, we will be fated to taking these daily ambulations under the sweltering heat of a merciless July sun. But that is no matter. Today, we left winter behind us, and stroke directly into unexpectedly glorious springtime, all within the span of a single hour.
Does it matter that there are still at least a couple more possible snowstorms looming in our March forecast? It does not. Gladsome spring has already whispered that reassuring promise to us on her gentle breeze, and we are renewed!
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