Springtime in February.

In my heart, I know that winter isn’t over. There will be icy roads and snowy walkways that need to be shoveled and wool socks and gray days in my near future. At some point soon, I’ll want to pull an extra blanket over me again at night and sleep in my socks. There are plenty of evenings wrapped in a blanket in front of the fireplace still ahead. After all, it’s only February. But oh, I’m in denial. Lately, it feels like spring is just around the corner.

The skies have been big and blue, temperatures hitting almost 60 degrees in Park City. I’ve been leaving the door to the front porch wide open so Cholula can walk in and out. There’s zero snow in the yard, even behind the house where it’s usually an Arctic tundra this time of year. Birds have resumed their pillaging of the birdfeeders. Some of the landscaping is budding and even showing bits of vibrant green. Precipitation comes in the form of fat raindrops, not snowflakes. I drive with the window down, brainstorming things to make on the outdoor grill. Cars have mountain bikes on them instead of skis! Spring fever has arrived a little too early.

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Last weekend, we headed to the sunny side of the valley for a family hike on a trail coincidentally named Spring Creek. Here and there, we’d spy preludes to spring, new color breaking up the brown hues of the hillsides. There were some muddy stretches of trail from melting patches of snow (their days are surely numbered). The fat mice Cholula so desperately seeks in these hills bravely scurried across the trail now and then. (I prayed she’d be looking the other way each time.)

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We peeled off our outer clothing layers, hiking in tee shirts and shorts and wishing we’d worn sunscreen. At a couple of view points, the peaks across the valley were still snowy, though not worthy of February. At the end of the hike, it was warm enough for Cholula to rinse her mud-caked paws in Spring Creek. I wonder if she believes the change of season is near, too, or if she knows better.

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This year, February is masquerading as late April. I know the sun is teasing me, seducing me into believing her spring-like warmth is here to stay. She’ll run off again, leaving me with Old Man Winter for a few more months. So I’ll soak up these golden moments while I can, comforting myself with the knowledge that true spring isn’t far away…

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Isn’t that anticipation for it to begin part of the joy of each season?

One year ago: Some lessons on LOVE

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