This post by Gayle M. Irwin
According to the calendar, spring starts today. Where I live (central Wyoming) spring seemed to start at the end of February. We experienced record-breaking (or close to it) temperatures, and lack of snow. That changed for many parts of the state this past week as a significant system rolled in. Most of the major snow hit the more mountainous areas, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. I’m okay with that – moisture in the mountains is good, especially this time of year, and if rain falls on the plains off and on for the next few months, that’s good, too.
Ever since I lived in West Yellowstone, Montana, for several years during the 1990s, I’ve not been a big fan of snow. The last winter I lived there, temperatures dropped to -50F for about a week and more than 25 feet of snow fell. I was trapped in my little rental house for a day and had to crawl out a window and shovel out the doorway. As I said, that was my FINAL winter there, and I’ve disliked harsh winter conditions ever since. If all goes and I do retire somewhat comfortably, I plan to spend winter months in warmer western climates – like Arizona. No one knows the future, we can only hope and make some plans and see how it all shakes out, but being a snowbird is my desire.
I love spring – I enjoy seeing colorful flowers and buds on trees as they emerge from their dormancy. I enjoy warmer temperatures of 60s and 70s (even 50s are okay in March and April!), and I like to hear the patter of raindrops on my windows. New life bursts forth in nature, and oftentimes in people, when spring arrives.
Last week I took my dog Mary to the local, fenced-in dog park (I like safety for my spaniels) and we saw MANY dogs and their guardians. Mary gets to meet new friends, both two and four-legged, and gets to run through the two-acre fenced-in park, sniffing and learning and enjoying. She and I both get exercise and make new acquaintances. It’s much more fun to walk the dog park in warmer temperatures and no snow or mud. Again, it’s like new life emerges … for all of us who use the dog park because of the spring weather.
Writing is similar. Sometimes as writers we’re dormant, unsure of what we want to write or occasionally even HOW to write. Then, a vacation, an outing, even a walk breaks the stagnation and new life springs forth: new thoughts, new energy, new stories (or even old stories that have been quiet in our brains or on our computers).
I’m in the process of creating two new children’s works, one about a rescue dog and one about a cat that needs rescuing (well, needs to get out of the school building after he gets locked in, at least!) I’m excited for these stories to finally break forth, much like the daffodils and apple tree buds. The dog story has been in my head and on the computer for nearly five years; the cat story more than one year. Just like spring is the right time for flowers and trees to blossom, this must be the right time for my two children’s stories to emerge and bloom.
Even though the calendar says “spring,” in my area winter can return, at least for a short time. That’s true for my stories, too – the edits can bring a lurch to my heart and be hard to accept, like the return of winter to my landscape. But, it’s only for a short time, and that extra moisture from a March or April snowfall is good for the prairie, just as it’s good for me to edit, slice and re-create the stories. Spring will come again, both to my writing and to the natural environment where I live – I look forward to what spring (and winter-like spring) produces, on the page and on the land.
How about you? What do you envision “springing forth” in your writing and in your yard or landscape this year?
Happy Spring, everyone — I hope you have opportunity to get outside and walk through a park/dog park and to enjoy the nature around you!
Gayle M. Irwin writes inspirational dog books for children and adults and has had short stories published in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her books include: Sage’s Big Adventure; Sage Finds Friends; Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest; Walking in Trust – Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and two devotion books for dog lovers. She is also the author of the Kindle book Help! My Dog is Going Blind – Now What Do I Do? A former humane and conservation educator, Gayle once lived next door to Yellowstone National Park, and served as editor of the West Yellowstone News. Gayle volunteers for various animal rescue organizations. Her pets have been adopted from such great organizations. Learn more about Gayle and her writings at this website: www.gaylemirwin.com.