Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A change of season brings a little dance to everyone

By Karrie McAllister

Being raised in the suburbs, I never really saw dancing cows. I had seen plenty of cows just standing around and doing what cows are famous for doing, but no dancing.
It wasn’t until I was driving from my first job through eastern Ohio farmland that I saw them. They were running and jumping and chasing each other, and I swear I saw one of them doing a bit of a hula.
Thinking that I had witnessed some natural miracle, I asked a farming co-worker if cows could really jump. I was all ready to drive back with a film crew when he spoiled it for me.
“Nah, what you saw is normal. They’re just happy it’s Spring. Spring fever, that’s all.”
Once I got over feeling stupid for not knowing cows could actually jump, I tucked that memory away in the corners of my mind, and I pull it out again every Spring.
Because no matter how old or young we are, come that first warm day in northeast Ohio, we’re all are out there dancing around like a bunch of cows.
After being cooped up inside all winter long, acclimating ourselves to the 20 degree temperatures, once the mercury rises above 50 we’re all putting on shorts and flip flops like we just stepped onto the beach instead of the muddy swamp that is our backyard. And on days in March where the mercury hits 65? We actually complain about the heat and sweat a little.
This past weekend was our time to dance like the cows. Sure, we’ve had sunny days before this, but we still had to figure out how to wear winter hats and bike helmets at the same time. This weekend was actually warm enough to go out and not dress in layers, and we took total advantage of it.
Like we were released from some indoor prison, we were wild. With just a hint of summer in the air, we opened up every single window in the house to let out the stink that had been building up all winter long, and then we sent dad to the store for the all-important hamburgers and hotdogs. What’s a summer day without a cookout, right?
And with the smell of charbroiled beef floating through the air, the kids ran around the backyard in t-shirts and bare feet. (Actually we were all barefoot because every pair of shoes we had were caked in mud.)
Nevertheless, it was wonderful to feel the sun on our skin and the bugs flying around our faces.
My children were ecstatic to be outside, and even if there had been a Scooby Doo marathon and I offered them all-you-can-eat candy, nothing would have kept them indoors.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the day. It seemed that a neighborhood that was hibernating for the last five months suddenly sprang to life. There were people everywhere, walking, playing, grilling, and placing bets on which of the shrubs weren’t going to come back this year.
Come evening, my children’s eyes were glazed over with tiredness. Sun and fun weary, they collapsed in bed just in time for me to realize the mess of toys they scattered around the yard.
So with the warm evening air settling in, I went out to tidy up. And what was once a wild playful day had turned into a peaceful night.
Without the hum of laughter I could hear the spring peepers for the first time this year. I swear there must be 20 million gazillion of those tiny frogs living on my street, and at times during the summer, their night songs are deafening.
But that Spring night, their songs were excited and joyful. They were celebrating the warm weather and change of season, just like everyone else.
Because it was dark out and the frogs are so tiny, I couldn’t actually see them. But if I could, I’m sure they were running and jumping and playing, just like a bunch of spring cows.

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