raising little ones in the great outdoors

Hurry Up and Wait: Spring is Here.

I may be a bit strange — I like winter. I’m constantly inspired by freshly fallen snow, skiing, camping without bugs. Summer is great with its hot days, cool nights, and school vacations. Fall is my favorite for the golden leaves, crisply perfect temperatures, and weeks of blue sky. But I endure spring, with its mud, wind, allergies, and 40-degree temperature swings.

The year’s first day-and-half warm spell happened to fall on a Saturday when we were all home. Abby, age 13, was the first to ask if I could get her bike down from its storage hooks in the garage. She and two of her friends are preparing for a spring triathlon relay. Abby has the bike section, so she’s been riding her mom’s bike on the trainer. She wanted to finally feel the breeze on her face. As soon as the other kids saw me taking hers down, they all wanted to ride too. What was I supposed to do, tell them to get back inside and watch some TV?

With six bike riders and a double-wide bike trailer down from the rafters, half my garage became a bike corral. It’s a small price to pay, but still even when I tried to be very organized, having two cars and all those bikes resulted in some annoying scratches on the car doors (parents should never buy dark-colored vehicles, even if they look really nice on the lot). We gave up, and one car will now stay parked outside for the remainder of the year.

After pumping up 14 tires, I collapsed in an exhausted heap while Jennie gave Abby a sweet taste of freedom by letting her ride a mile or so to Target by herself. Once my triceps stopped quivering, we loaded Hannah (4) and Grace (6 months) into the trailer and ran some errands as well. It had been months since we’d had temperatures in the 60’s. Shorts and sandals felt wonderful. Alas, spring played a cruel trick on us. Sunday brought snow and wind. We were back inside staring wistfully out the windows. The following weeks maintained the cruel Idaho spring tradition of relentless wind and occasional rain and snow. The car sat outside in the weather and the bikes stood idle in the garage, mocking our na├»ve hopes for the first taste of summer.

I’ve always thought it’s funny that people are willing to ski on rocks in November and hike in mud or climb in the cold in April. Just when the snow depth is at its peak, the resorts close down because the skiers have moved on to other sports. My family falls into this trap too. We want to climb when we should be skiing, to backpack high when we should be hiking low, to ski when we should be running. We have the best experiences when we accept the season we’re in and do things that are appropriate to that season. It doesn’t hurt to look forward, even to dream of another season. But skiing on rocks, literally or metaphorically, isn’t what life’s about. It’s about embracing the moment at hand and unfortunately that means embracing a cold, fickle Idaho spring.

And so we wait for the ground to dry between storm. Then will set up the slackline. We take advantage of warm and dry weather to get in a real trail run before the rain returns. When it drizzles, we hike with the kids to see snowmelt runoff in normally dry creek beds. On those blustery, showery days we look at maps, puzzle over our summer calendar, and try to get ahead on home projects so we’ll be ready to go when spring (Bah!) finally ends.

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4 Responses to “Hurry Up and Wait: Spring is Here.”

  1. abby bohrer says:

    First of all, that picture is hideous. Second, I am 13. NOT 12!!! Other than that, it is an awseome article. Good Job.

  2. Joel W says:

    Great second to last paragraph! I couldn’t agree more completely. Even though I anxiously await the first snows every winter as much as I appreciate the first warm days of summer, I always try to remember the season we are in. Ski season really does come in to bloom in spring when the snow is stable and plentiful. I hope I can pass that on to my kids as they grow.

  3. Danny says:

    I feel you! When its winter, I dream of warm, south swells. When its summer I’m dreaming of cold northern winter tubes.

    Time goes by to fast to be so focused on the future, we need to live in the present more.

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