'They look too exciting for so early in the evening'.
‘The Chinook is blowing!’ ‘I hear it, Laura. Go back to sleep’, said Pa.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter
On the prairies of the Great Plains, the Chinook is the wind of spring. Warm and gentle-unlike the blizzard winds of winter-it heralds re-awakening and rebirth after the long cold winter. And of course the winter chronicled in The Long Winter was just that: long, cold, and brutal. Marooned on the prairie after the trains stopped running, the citizens of DeSmet nearly starved to death before the spring thaw. Is it any wonder Laura yelled for pure joy at hearing the Chinook?
Out on a moonlit walk this week, we felt that same shift toward spring. Mud under our feet, a gentle wind across our faces, fascinating new smells for the dogs. And we weren’t alone; at the top of the trail we ran right into a high school football game. And a soccer match. And people-masks in place, of course-but people! Plural. And as weird as it was to be watching football in March, it also felt so GOOD to be in a ‘crowd’.
After a week of gorgeous weather, signs of spring are everywhere: snow drops and crocuses, morning birdsong, buds pushing on the pussy willow in our front yard. Even after a return to more seasonal temps, we’re edging ever closer to warmth and sunshine. Here’s hoping that warmth and sunshine-and a few million vaccinations-also inches us a little closer to some semblance of normalcy. In that spirit, we’re putting a stake in the ground: on April 24th, Sheri Carl will be pouring some brand-new rose (and other wines, for the unconverted). We’ll be safe, we’ll be socially distant. But we’re also going to have some fun.