Put some spring in your step

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer March 22, 2012 02:52 pm

Spring was cleared for a landing Tuesday. The season came in like an out-of-control barnstorming plane.

Just enough snow fell to make the soon-to-blossom daffodils nervous.

I was ready for spring and all its vagaries, this year. I got a sneak preview on the Oregon beach, where I saw more snowmen than sand castles.

Having elbowed several TV correspondents covering the epic Seaside storm out of the way, I got a picture of the week of vacation’s one sun break. Unfortunately, a seagull, in search of his 15 minutes of fame, blocked the view.

In the past, I have had the tendency to be anxious for summer, to think if I watched that pot it would boil sooner. Now I know better.

Spring being hard-headed refuses to follow a calendar. The season in Northeast Oregon starts when it pleases — and ends sometime around July 4.

Natives will tell you God’s automatic sprinkler system turns off after the Independence Day fireworks.

Only then do the regular gullywashers of May and June give way to that pervasive carcinogen, the sun.

It’s said the infamous Mistral Wind in the Provence region of southern France can blow the ears off a donkey.

Well, a Northeast Oregon wind can blow the gee-whiz out of a view. It can blow the golden off hills and the dramatic out of hillscapes.

Our wind has even been known to blow a grin off a border collie, not an easy task.

Any native knows attempting to use an umbrella is a recipe for disaster.

Heck, our winds are famous for nearly blowing over trains, much less people.

We have as many names for wind as Eskimos have for snow, some even printable. There are scouring, twitchy, wild, even open-a-can-of-whoop’em wind.

The blistering days of July will have to wait for the blustering days of March, April, May and June to have their holler.

While summer here is like a jackrabbit in the headlights, spring is like a herd of mule deer, in the middle of the road and refusing to budge.

Still, spring does have merits, and each day has value. Spring is a time when birds engage in their own American Idol contests. 

Spring is a season of renewal, of new life, of calves and lambs cavorting in the pastures, of flowers blooming in profusion.

And each day has value. At a 40th wedding anniversary party I attended recently, the guests of honor spoke of making every day a celebration. It’s worked for them for 40 years. 

They’ve faced health crises that would cause people of lesser stock to become merciless whiners. Instead, they greet the world each day with a smile and an encouraging word for the people they meet.

The bigger point is, Northeast Oregon spring will put some grit in your craw. 

Enjoy each day, regardless. Chase the sun breaks. Enjoy the wind chimes. Follow the rainbows to the pot of gold. Go on a picnic. Check out the cherry blossoms. Plant a garden. Enjoy a hike in the lower Blues or Wallowas. Watch flowers bloom. Go for a bike ride.

But don’t pack up the winter parka just yet.


Reach the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it