You haven't lived until someone half your age asks you what day it is, what year it is (!) and what your name is. Anyway, I passed the test and drove on home, feeling a little beat up. But it was worth it. Sun warmed the ski lift chairs so the ride up the mountain felt like a benediction. And the miniature mogul hogs in their dayglow ski outfits were putting me to shame, as usual. One tiny tot had a pair of bunny ears on her helmet. At the end of the day, stowing my skis, I watched a giant red-haired poodle harnessed to a plastic sled whiz by, giving his little passenger the ride of her life. That was the happiest, goofiest looking sled dog I ever saw. A day on the mountain to be remembered and probably my last until next year.
It did seem strange yesterday morning, leaving the springtime ambiance of the valley for 10 degrees F and several inches of fresh snow on the mountain. Back to my previous post, this is the delicious fact of Montana in March. Crocuses are showing off, daffodils are barely breaking ground, robins serenade at dawn, and there's still nine feet of snow mid-mountain.
Today, my Easter service will take place in the Missions, only ten minutes away, which yield both snow free and snow covered paths to traverse. At 4,000 feet you can wear regular boots or Crocs and at 5,000 put on cross country skis or snow shoes.
I suspect our bear friends will be showing their groggy faces soon. There is certainly plenty of elk and deer sign where I go, rabbits and turkeys are finding lots to eat. A couple of white tails scattered last time I drove up there and they look almost too fat to run! I guess it's been a good winter up the hill and they'll be having their babies soon. These three does are so used to humans, they let me take their picture today, though they were quite a distance away, and me with no telephoto.
After I came down off the hill, I noticed crocuses fully operational and looking fresh and full of mischief. They also let me take their picture up close. What a treat for the winter weary that crocuses come when they do, long before anything else rears up out of the winter soil.
These ones seem to be dancing under the Mission Bay sign on Highway 35.
I see it's snowing on the mountain right now. I can watch from my dining room window which is where I write. Usually, Easter brings with it images of springtime. Because it's so early this year, we can probably expect another couple weeks of snow on the mountain, maybe a snowfall or two more in the valley. That's the fun of living here, I tell you. You never know what's going to happen next. Or as my friend Bill says, "If you don't like the weather here, just wait an hour, you still won't like it."
Me, I like weather whatever the flavor, especially if it's cool or coldish.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, celebrating in the fashion that is closest to your heart. I certainly did. Letting my feet lap up the dirt trail, mud puddles, and snow pack included, while I harvested thoughts from my thought bubble and felt thanks for every tree and shrub. That was my Easter blessing.
The only wildlife I came across besides the deer was a bicyclist, who seemed as happy to be up there as I was. It's so rare to run across another human up there this time of year that I had to stop and chat. This one was riding a mountain bike along the trail and though he was headed for mud and snow, seemed to have the perfect rig for it. He said, "So you're the one who drives the other red Honda." It turns out that we drive identical cars, blood red Honda CRVs.
Is that odd or is that God?