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The Seasons Ate My Homework

When spring finally arrives, I find it difficult to attend to the tasks that beckon me inside because the world is new again

By Maggie Doherty

It’s all this daylight, sun beginning to warm and soften the earth, the return to color upon the landscape. New, vibrant, green. I have to chase after my kids, ensuring the hose is turned off after they’ve sprayed each other countless times, despite the temperature hovering around 50 degrees. They care little. Little bodies free from snow pants, mittens, hats, neck gators, and who needs shoes anymore? Little bodies covered in mud. 

And it’s light well past 8 p.m. in the evening so, really you can understand why I’m a bit delayed in responding to emails, requests, but I’ll get to it. It’s spring. Don’t you know? It’s spring and really who can concentrate? Books to be read in the sunshine, a nose to turn slightly pink after a long winter. And a very long, cold spring.

So you’ll have to forgive me for not turning in my homework on time: have you seen this year’s bloom of shooting stars in the woods? I swear their magenta hues are more vivid than I can remember. Have you found yourself steadied by the cries of birdsong in the morning, knowing that the winter silence is suspended and the world resumes its avian symphony? Are you like me and stalk Kalispell’s downtown residential alleyways waiting for the lilac show to begin? 

When you live in the northern Rockies you alternatively yearn for spring and also pray for moisture and a solid snowpack. Yet when spring does arrive, as it slowly unfurls this year, I find it difficult to attend to the tasks that require me inside because the world is new again, and that brilliant blue of a mountain bluebird will distract me for at least an hour or two. Deadlines need finagling – goodness, the apple trees need pruning and that can’t wait. 

What can’t wait is bodies to shed the layers of clothes, bodies to respond to the arc of the sun in greater strength and to stumble upon wonder. Where we live, there is no shortage of wonder. And each season does provide its own catalogue of wonder, but spring holds its own special edition, likely because it makes us wait so long. From the new tips of needles on the spruce trees to the dance of wildflowers shimmering through the awakened soil, inspiration in the season calls our attention. How could any of us ignore that? 

If you find yourself staying up later than usual because the sun tells you so or you’ve put off that indoor project because your hands need the reassurance of dirt I offer you my new standard response: “I apologize for the delay, spring ate my homework.” 

Feel free to tweak it best suit your needs. Try it out and let me know how it goes. 

Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.