Cool in Lenado, but hot on the political front
Once winter begins to subside and we actually begin to see the snow melt, and hints of green suddenly appear and the buds actually begin to form on trees and bushes, we are apt to exclaim ” in our giddy exuberance of the impending arrival of summer ” that “spring just burst onto the scene.”
During certain years, it does feel as if spring arrives via an explosion. Unfortunately for some of us, especially those of us who live in Lenado, spring doesn’t “burst onto the scene,” it “dribbles” into our lives. To be more accurate, it normally arrives as a series of dribbles ” an accumulation of teasing and provocative moments of hope that quickly are transformed into moments of despair. Warmth and sunshine morph into another burst of snow and hail and spring somehow is again locked in a deep shadow.
None of this comes as a surprise to the residents of Lenado, who are quite aware that they live in the Rocky Mountains. Still, we are forced to be reminded that while our downhill neighbors are enjoying a touch of spring, we continue to deal with the remnants of winter. This time of year we can drive a few short miles down Woody Creek Road and go from winter, with snow still piled in the meadows and the woods, to hints of spring, with bare ground and touches of green already showing. It can be a rather depressing reminder that we do lag behind our neighbors at the lower elevations.
This is being written on May 25, and patches of snow still remain in the meadow across from my cabin and there is a pile on the north side of my place that is 6- to 7-feet deep. There is no sign of any leaves on the local aspen trees or on the willows. Perhaps the only sure sign of spring in Lenado is the fact that Woody Creek is running high and wild now, so the snow must be melting somewhere above us.
But a raging Woody Creek is not the only sign of an impending spring in Lenado. A few weeks ago, a neighbor of mine had her pickup broken into by a bear and a few days later a bear also broke into a cabin up the road. Those incidents are not exactly welcome signs of spring. And our local family of foxes has become active again. A few days ago, a rather brazen fox pup showed up in my front yard early in the day and was attempting to reach my suet feeder. I tried to scare him off, but he just stood his ground and gave me a look that seemed to say, “Get out of my way, I’m here to eat.” I have one of those little air-horn gadgets by my front door and I figured a blast from it would send him running. All it actually did was scare my dog, Buckwheat, while the fox remained quite determined to get to that suet. I finally just brought the feeder into the cabin and without the suet hanging there, he lost interest and wandered off. I have a neighbor up the road, Larry, who feeds the foxes, so they probably have become accustomed to humans and figure we are an easy touch ” and I guess we are.
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And there is a pine martin in the neighborhood that also has discovered the suet feeder. Fortunately, all I have to do is open the front door and he is gone ” quickly gone, I might add. My hummingbirds showed up a couple of weeks ago and the area marmots are inching their way back toward Lenado once again, both sure signs that spring is lurking nearby. One occasional Lenado visitor has not been spotted this spring and that is fine with all of us. Now and again a mountain lion has been seen around here and, as a dog owner, that is not welcome news, no matter how beautiful an animal it may be.
But no matter how close spring is, I can drive two or three miles downstream toward Woody Creek and realize that we are a couple of weeks behind the lower part of our little valley. So when summer finally comes to them, the odds are that spring in Lenado will finally be in full bloom. Of course that all depends on how many more snowstorms await in the wings.
But it really doesn’t matter what nature intends to throw at us as we slip into summer, we already know we are in for some very hot days in the months to come. This is, after all, a presidential election year and it promises to be marvelously ugly and mean and heated.
All three potential candidates have begun firing live rounds at one another and none of them have actually received an official nomination from their respective parties. According to the pundits, Hillary Clinton is out of the running for the Democratic nomination in August but she is conceding nothing. It is assumed that her opponent, Barrack Obama, will win the day, so Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, are attacking each other as if we were already well into the presidential election. If all of this were not so serious ” our nation’s future is at stake after all ” it would make for a delightful sitcom. But one must believe that in the months to come, after the nominations are finalized, there will be very little that we can laugh at.
So it probably doesn’t matter what the local weather brings us in the following months because it is obvious we are in for a long, hot summer on the political scene.
And while the Republicans and Democrats begin hurling the most gross and vitriolic charges against one another, I plan to keep my eyes open in Lenado for the return of the belted kingfishers that usually haunt the ponds behind my cabin. Their appearance is a sure sign of spring in Lenado.
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After 14 years, a lengthy lawsuit by area residents and nearly $4 million in construction costs, a half-mile trail to two school campuses in the Castle Creek Valley was finally completed this week.