I don’t know what comes over us when the snow melts and forms spontaneous rushing rivers in the barnyard, in the ditches, and through the trees, but I will tell you it’s not exclusive to the kids. I heard my neighbor’s grown man son took his kayak out the other day to see where the water would take him and I was immediately jealous that I hadn’t thought of it.
Yes, the first day the weather hit above 50 degrees my daughters were out chasing the runoff in their shorts and rubber boots and skinny white legs. And I was following right behind on the same mission, only in long pants because I have learned some lessons in my advanced age.
Like no matter your careful intentions on this mission, you will always wind up with the entire creek over the tops of your boots. Not a soul can help it after months and months in a deep freeze. We always go a bit too far.
And it seems the same goes with the mud. It could be. Or it could be hereditary, or it could be that I just really wanted to get closer to the first new calf of the season on our way home from celebrating Easter in town with my husband’s family. Turns out the sight of a cute calf makes you forget that just 24 hours ago that little mud puddle was a snow bank. Turns out off-roading in a SUV/Grocery Getter on the first warm day of the year with two kids and everything the Easter bunny could fit in the back is a dumb idea. I sunk into mud half up my tires immediately. It was only by pure willpower and utter embarrassment at the thought of having to call my brother-in-law to pull me out that I was able to maneuver out of that sticky situation. I counted that as a bullet dodged and moved on with my life.
The next few days were warmer yet, like 70 degrees! We hadn’t seen this since the Middle Ages! My little sister called to see if we wanted to go walk the creek bottoms and float sticks, even though our darling daughters were plumb happy with the little rivers forming puddles and running in the ditches in our yards. But the responsible adults in this relationship, that was not going to cut it. With one whiff of melting snow my sister and I were transported to our childhood, knowing the window of opportunity for this sort of dramatic landscape change around here is fleeting.
My husband was busy digging out things that had been lost in the snow banks for months and so I told him that we were going to load the girls in the pickup and head for the creek. He suggested we take the side-by-side instead so we wouldn’t get stuck. I ignored him.
And so off we went to find the creek as big as it’s ever been, rushing and flowing and cutting through ice and snow along its edges, melting and forming a new river right before our eyes. This was no stick-floating situation, we should have brought the kayak! We stood on its edges a while with our daughters, mesmerized. The we pulled them some good walking sticks and I held the big girls’ hands while we waded in a bit along it’s edges, until, inevitably, Edie got two boots full of ice cold creek and we hauled them back through the snow bank and up to the pickup to make our way back home.
It’s here my husband showed up with the four-wheeler. I dumped a gallon of water out of our daughter’s boots and we loaded our soggy selves into the pickup. From the driver’s seat I told my dearly beloved that we were heading home, put it four-wheel drive and crept toward my fate. In the rear view mirror I saw my husband on that ATV quietly watching to see how I was going to turn this big ‘ol pickup around on a skinny scoria trail surrounded by snow banks and mud and icy puddles.
And I could go into the step-by-step details here, but I think you’ve predicted it. Not only did I get stuck, I nearly landed the whole pickup in the creek. I did a number that not even my husband could undo. And the man, he didn’t even say, “I told you so” when I profusely apologized. He just poked his head in the window and replied, “We all gotta learn our lessons our own way.”
And then my sister called my brother-in-law to come with the towrope.
Oh, Happy Spring! If you need me I’ll be ignoring logic and the mud in my entryway.