Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Always Comes

If there's anything living in North Dakota teaches you, it's patience. It takes a long time to get where you're going over the endless miles of prairie. Heck, it takes forever just to get the van warmed up to drive across town.

Winters like this one pretend they're never going to end.

You can't fool me. Grandma taught me better than that.  The more winters away I travel from the quiet moments I spent with her all snuggled up in the old farm house, the farther my heart travels from the sounds of her in the kitchen, the harder it is to remember the patience she had.

I can still feel it if I listen.

This is the time of year for the little packages to roll in from the seed catalogs.We would laugh when the catalogs started coming in January, and Grandpa would come in from his daily trek to the mail box with a swirl of winter, but by the time he and Grandma settled into their chairs for a look, it seemed Spring was going to be ANY DAY NOW, so much planning to do!

If my sister and I lived for the arrival of the big Wish Book before Christmas to set our Santa dreams on fire, those catalogs with the bright colors and promises of bounty were even better. The promise was proven, some of it still hanging on in multi-colored jars on the shelves in the cellar. I was too scared to go down there often, but to inch my way down, sitting on one step at a time was exciting, until I remembered I'd have to make the trip UP again, including that stomach-lurching moment when I'd have to turn around and flop like an exhausted little miner, back onto the safety of the dining room floor. Solid ground.

More waiting.

The little signs would start showing, starting with a new attitude in the sunshine as the days pushed their way longer by a minute here, a minute there.

Two little girls were more than likely testing the patience of every adult in the house by then, too. It may have warmed up some, but going outside to play wasn't as fun as when the snow was a fresh new plaything. Mud puddles held a lot more appeal, and they were never going to come!

More waiting.

Over weeks, it took a little less bundling each time we tailed Grandpa out to the garage to watch him get the tiller ready. There was still too much mud, he said, but best get ready.

To our ears, of course, that meant... more waiting.

Sometimes, when winter had one last fit, we'd have to give up the comfort of the car out on the road and walk (or piggyback-ride on Dad) through Grandpa's path around the snow drifts and past the muddy holes occupying the driveway to get to the house. Slushy, wet indecision was piled all over the yard.  I'm not sure how he had so much patience left over after hours of pointing out landmarks in hopes of teaching us not to feel the need to ask him if we were there yet every five minutes, but he did.

 For the record, you can't even make a decent snowman when you end up knees -first in snirty slush with one wrong roll.

Yep, more waiting.

There it was, though, Spring... it started sneaking in around the foundation of the house with the first peeks of tulips testing the air with their sharp little spikes of greenery. There'd be a brave patch of grass growing bigger in the afternoons, then another...and another...

Don't even get me started on my lack of patience when Grandpa finally deemed the garden spot dry enough to work. I'm pretty sure one of my jobs, pouncing on worms like a noisy little robin to gather for a promised fishing trip, was more for his sanity than a walleye dinner. I was adorable! Twenty Questions had nothing on me when it came to trying to will those seeds to turn into delicious peas with my watching and prodding.

I did learn how much easier it is to wait when you have a job to do, even if it involves worms. :)

Almost there...

Giddyup, Daddy!!!

My sister got to walk. She was far more trustworthy around puddles.

The further I find myself removed from the cycle of the dirt, I still find myself repeating "Spring always comes." as a mantra when things get rough. It's like "This too shall pass.", but it has a promise on the end that keeps me going. Better things are coming, so be patient and work with what you have so you're ready.

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