Wyoming is a funny place to live. The weather and the calendar never quite seem to be in sync. This year, we had a few beautiful spring days, only to be walloped by 18 inches of snow on Mother’s Day. My grandmother had her hands full all her life keeping me from jumping the gun planting my pots. Never until after Mother’s Day was her adage. This year, we lost Grandma the week before Mother’s Day (at the age of 101) and when I spoke at her funeral I said that she’d sure made sure I didn’t plant on Mother’s Day this year!
May was cold and wet. We had one more snow and almost as much rain in one month as we normally get in a year. The result? The grass is so green on the hills and on Casper Mountain. I’ve had to mow our acreage THREE times (normally once a year) and the wild grasses are invading my flower beds faster than I can pull them out. But the warm, cold, warm, cold has had some terrible results. Elm trees all over town, including three of ours, have died. Ponderosa pines and junipers, normally so hardy, have also died out all over town though thankfully ours have survived. Crab apple trees, which normally blanket Casper in pink and white blossoms, didn’t bloom. This means it’s going to be a lean harvest for the birds and of course, our plums and apple trees failed to bloom as well. On the bright side, the strawberries and raspberries did very well.
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was easy to see nature as a minor player in the world around me. It rained or it didn’t rain, but most days were sunny and most temperatures moderate. My roses bloomed all year round and I had a geranium bush, instead of nursing them along in pots as I do now. In Wyoming, nature takes a leading role in my life and not only because I spend much of my time at my desk, watching the seasons change on the mountain and looking for babies among the herd of antelope that wander by each morning and evening. In winter, the wind blows unceasingly and it’s not nearly as festive when Jack Frost nips at your nose in February as it seems in December. Our country road drifts closed at least a few times each winter and, like Jake and Emma, we have a wonderful neighbor who cheerfully digs us all out with his back hoe.
There are days (did I mention February?) when I ask my husband why we live in Wyoming, but thankfully those days are few. It is a beautiful state with kind and friendly people who have made me, a Colorado transplant, feel welcome. There is so much to see here, which is why Jake and Emma keep taking day trips. I want to show in my writing what a breath-taking state this is. Yellowstone and the Tetons, yes, but also Ayers Natural Bridges, Devil’s Tower, the grasslands, the lakes, the Wind Rivers and the hot springs are all part of the place I am happy to call home.
Have you been to Wyoming? I’d love to hear about your favorite places. You never know, Jake and Emma might turn up there soon!