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            5. First buds. When the pasque flowers appeared on Cement Creek last week, word spread faster than news of the Royal Baby’s birth. In a few weeks, we’ll pass through vast profusions of wildflowers with a pleased but un-amazed nod, but after months of snow, that delicate pasque flower purple feels just this side of miraculous.

             6. Hello, animals. A coyote trotted past our house last week, looking sassy and pregnant. Then our petite neighborhood fox sauntered by for the first time since disappearing last autumn. On my walk today I saw mountain bluebirds flashing in the sun and two geese leading their young ones across the ice to a patch of open water in Grant Lake. I can’t help stopping to shoot photos of the bighorn sheep hanging out in Almont. And every day, two or three calves greet the world at the Maldarellas’ ranch. Life awakens!

            7. Small-town ease. Parking on Elk Avenue – not a problem. No reservations for dinner – not a problem. Need stamps but don’t have time to stand in line at the post office – not a problem.

            8. Deck time. The watering hole/eatery decks are shoveled out and not yet overpopulated. Until the nonstop party of summer gears up, we’ve got time – to breathe, chat, chew our food, sort photos, call our relations and occupy sunny decks in between spring snows.

            9. Graduation. There’s an antsy anticipation at the high school, especially for seniors, with prom, finals, summer plans and then… the big wide world. If you’ve ever watched the high school’s graduation ceremony, you’ve likely shed a tear, shared a laugh and realized… we love our children, and we do graduation RIGHT.

            10. Recovering a sense of smell. When everything’s frozen solid, I just smell… cold. As things thaw, I smell new grass, barbecue grills at work, pond water… and, yes, dog leavings. At this point, I’m not that picky.

            11. Reconnecting. We can go most of the winter without interacting with our neighbors, who scurry from house to car to house – or walk their dogs quickly, cloaked in massive parkas, hats, etc. Today we stood around in the mild warmth and found out about the neighbors’ new grandbabies, waved at passing joggers, and petted dogs without gloves on our hands.

            12. Learning non-attachment. On Monday we might hike or bike at Hartmans, on Tuesday shovel new snow from the driveway, on Wednesday get sunburned drinking margaritas in lawn chairs, on Thursday snowshoe up Snodgrass, on Friday pay bills while it rains outside. Soon I’ll get out my shorts, but I dare not put away the parka. Veterans of the Crested Butte spring have honed the art of being present and going with the flow of nature – or the flow of cars headed for points south.

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