Spring has Sproinged
The Wallowa Valley takes its own sweet time shifting from winter to spring. Not this year. I left town last week in a legitimate snowstorm with black ice coating the highway – then I got home yesterday and had to buy a newspaper to look at the date, make sure I hadn’t Rip Van Winkled and been gone longer than I thought.
It looks like somebody threw a switch. There were four tufts of pale green grass in my yard when I left. Now I need to get the mower tuned up. People were subsisting on seal blubber and boiling old leather boots to get by a week ago – then I get home and friends are having barbecues. The outdoor kind. It’s seasonal whiplash. I can hear the flowers growing outside and I wish they’d keep it down. It’s hard to concentrate with the racket of all those cells multiplying.
Witness the two photos: world-class iceberg-cicles growing off my roof taken not too very long ago, contrasted with the fields of green I’m soon going to have to mow, taken just this morning.
And that means rafting season is on, folks. I saw a party of steelheaders launching from Minam on my way out of town last week, and I pitied those fools for the cold weather camping they were about to endure. It reminded me of Shackelton’s crew.
Driving back yesterday, there was a group of young fellas floating the Grand Ronde outside of La Grande in inner tubes. Inner tubes, I tell you. It reminded me of a Norman Rockwell scene.
Now that it’s the season for messing around in boats, I’m looking at the calendar with a friendly eye, instead of counting the sticks of firewood in my pile, then consulting the calendar to see how soon I’ll need to start burning furniture.
That calendar is looking good. There are Snake River trips, a Salmon trip in my near future. I’m talking with my Dad about a couple stretches on the John Day we’d like to revisit and also we’re leaning toward a scenic float down the lower section of the Grand Ronde.
Morgan has the steelhead itch and mentioned scratching it either on the Wallowa, Imnaha, or maybe Grand Ronde. It all sounds good. Count me in. That grass can keep growing as far as I’m concerned. The mower sat in the garage all winter and it can keep on sitting there if the weather is going to be this accommodating.