Don’t blink

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In the blink of an eye, your life can change.
Years can disappear in time, either forward or backward. An ordinary site across the horizon, an earthly spring smell or the sound of rain on a tin roof can take our minds to another place and time in the blink of an eye.
It seems like I’ve been blinking quite a bit lately.
The grandkids came over on Easter Monday. Decked out in puddle boots and light jackets, they ran around the yard trying to catch a gentle spring breeze with their new kites as they splashed through puddles. If their little legs could generate enough speed, the kites would gradually lift off the ground only to come crashing back down to earth when they stopped moving. After several crashes and some extra help from their uncles, the kites eventually stayed air bound.
The open space isn’t the only attraction for the kiddos to come to the farm. There are always tractor and four-wheeler trips to take around the fields. The girls and I couldn’t go very far or fast on the four-wheeler. We were dodging puddle ponds, “raging flood” creeks across the field and slushy snow as we scooted around the farm yard. Ethan was busy with Uncle Austin checking out the lay of the land in the tractor. I think he honked the horn the whole time from the yard to the far corner of the farm and back again. Thank goodness for sound guard cabs.
Once Ethan was back, the girls climbed up in the tractor, and Ethan hopped on the four-wheeler with Grandpa. The neighbors were stuck in the field across the road. They needed to go check it out. The rapid thaw had also washed away the shoulder of a new road on the south side of the farm. So many things to investigate.
Mark blinked.
It seemed like just yesterday when he and our kids were off exploring new adventures around the farm. Now it was time to teach the next generation about the lay of the land.
The snowdrifts on the north side of the house provided a special playground for young and old alike that day. The drift was taller than my sweet little petunias, Emma and Ava. The snow was perfect. We grabbed handfuls of snow and started having a snowball fight with their daddy.
I blinked.
It seemed like yesterday Jonathon was the little one having a snowball fight across the yard with me. Now, here he is as the parent. Time seems to have melted as quickly as the snow.
By Wednesday, when it hit 80 degrees around here, the drifts disappeared like the Wicked Witch of the West. They melted slowly down into the ground, trying to escape the warmth of the sun’s rays. The grass was enjoying the slow melt as moisture sunk down to sleepy roots. Overnight, my tulips pushed upward to the warm sun. The grass was starting to green up. The apple trees started to send out buds. Spring was on its way.
I blinked.
Sunday morning greeted me with new snowdrifts on the north side of the house. They aren’t quite as big and probably not as stubborn to hang around as the earlier drifts. I figure it is just a slow-release rain for the yard.
We have been quantum leaping around by seasons so far this year. In one week, we have gone from winter to summer, back to winter and now a normal chilly spring day. This time travel stuff sure keeps me on my toes.
I do know we can expect to be in the fields eventually. Mark is chomping at the bit. He likes to start planting by the end of April. I don’t think we’re going to make that date, but you never know. The Sunday snow is almost gone as the dark soil pulls the heat of the sun to the ground. Austin has buddies in southern Minnesota who already have been planting corn. In time, the planting wave will reach us, and we can hit the fields for another season.
As Mark counts down the days to start planting, I don’t get too excited about gardening. The last snow pile to disappear is standing in the middle of my garden. After each snowstorm, my garden was the dumping ground for the pushed snow in the yard. That includes all the extra straw from the front of the barn. The straw acts like an insulator for the frozen snow deep in the belly of the pile. I’ll find other projects to work on until I can start crawling around and playing in the dirt with the grandkids.
I might have to pull out my tiller and work the edge of the garden to slip in some cool weather veggies like lettuce and spinach. Of course, I have to get some early red potatoes and peas in the ground for the perfect summer meal of creamed peas and potatoes. I guess I will be in the garden before long.
 I have noticed the leaves of the rhubarb are right at the edge of the dirt, waiting for enough warmth to pop open their leaves like an umbrella. The irises and tulips have been pushing through the mulch on the south side of the house in search of more sunshine. After a couple of warm spring rains, the asparagus will sprout overnight. Once things wake up in the spring, it is hard to slow down.
It all seems to change in the blink of an eye.
    As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.

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