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  • Writer's pictureLisa Cox

April showers bring life.

This month I made a major realization one day when the weather, which had been unseasonably warm (but what is that, anymore?) had turned chilly again. I was out on the prairie walking a dog. This dog is part husky, and she enjoys a brisk walk on a cool day.

The air was a little raw, too, with a hint of moisture from snow that had been both falling and melting. The flavor of that air was what gave me the sudden realization, as memories flooded from past years at this time in spring, when everything feels so alive with contrast: first a warm sun, then a stiff breeze that blows a cloud over it, hands chilling in humid cool from melting snow while pulling a hoe to make little ditches for the melt to run down the side of the driveway without eroding the fresh wet earth, the clank of sap buckets being removed from taps in the maple trees and poured into one big bucket to take inside, where the air is warm and smells like smoke and syrup as the wood stove heats the house and boils the sap down, red buds on tree branches against a grey sky swollen with impending April showers, and bright yellow forsythia and daffodils flashing in the sun, and lighting up the landscape when the rain falls.

I suddenly realized April is my favorite month.

I've been in Maine for the past few days, and the memories are alive and well. I wish we had forsythia in Laramie, but I am grateful for memories from earlier years and to be able to see them periodically when visiting New England. On Saturday we drove to Portsmouth for a reunion, stopping at Old Orchard Beach along the way- where I got my first tattoo! More memories flooded in as we walked along the wet sand in a brisk wind, noses chilling in the ocean air. (Back in southeast Wyoming it was snowing.) When I was in college, a few of us would live and work on Hampton Beach in the summer. I remembered the feel of walking into a cold cottage before the season began, unpacking food and turning on the oven because that was the only heat in the place. Often during May the weather would be rainy, and far into June as well- and chilly. The beach would be practically empty until Memorial Day weekend, and then as school let out. We would have it to ourselves, and there is a mournful sound to the call of gulls at that time in the season, before the beach becomes crowded with kids shouting as they dive into the cold ocean waves, and the scent of tanning lotion as adults slather up and lie around on towels baking in the sun.

Yesterday I read an article in American Indian magazine about a woman who is deaf and teaches kids about dolls by encouraging the use of all their senses. In January I led the first Laramie Audubon Society Kids and Families event of the year, and we did the same in a 5 Senses Winter Walk. It was a huge success, even in temps near 0 degrees. There is something about opening ourselves up fully to experiencing life around us that makes our time here more vibrant. Even when the weather is cold, sloppy, windblown and uncomfortable, stand in it and feel it. Feel the power of the elements. Close your eyes and feel, then open them and see. Make note of the difference in the two experiences. Feel your part in the World. Enjoy.

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