The Borrowed Days

This year March is spilling over into April.

I grew up with the farmer’s lore regarding March “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb” and vice versa, but this March the lion has been greedy, occupying the coming, the going, and then some. Irish folklore tells of March borrowing three days from April to extend its wintry reign. Some versions extend the borrowing days to nine.

By the time March rolls around, Wyoming folks are pretty tired of winter weather. March teases us with the signs of spring without really releasing us from winter’s chill. It’s common to hear a fair amount of grumbling about the weather in March, and rightfully so: A wet spring blizzard can wreak havoc on baby calves and lambs.

I commiserate with the complaints and I would not welcome a destructive bought of rough weather, but inside, I admit: I like Wyoming’s spring weather. A favorite quote penned by teenager, Helen Mettler in 1925 is “God bless Wyoming and keep it wild.” Well, a lot of what keeps Wyoming wild is the unpredictable, extreme weather.  The complete disregard for our human penchant to predict and plan is part of experiencing nature in the raw.  Spring weather seems to come to us in four hour installments ranging from clear skies; to rainy; to snowy; to icy; to windy. They can be arranged in any manner through a twenty-four hour period.

So, while I pray for healthy livestock, I face the winds -and rain, and sleet, and sun, and snow- of spring with a smile. I know sunny days are coming, and in the meantime, I’ll take what nature deals us. Wyoming still has a bit of wild.

The flat, blue light of an early morning spring snow creates a study in texture.
Bull elk are on the move and soon to lose their antlers. “Shed” hunting is a common pastime.
Spring fed ponds stay open, providing important winter habitat for water fowl.
Mama cows know how to take care of their calves even in the toughest conditions.
If the weather doesn’t stay wet for too long, a healthy calf will be just fine.

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