Is Spring sprung?

The roar of lawn mowers permeates my little office—the first time since we moved in—and I'm about to mail my subscription to High Desert Gardening. Just in time apparently; spring may have arrived.

The difference between spring here and the Willamette Valley is startling. I don't miss the valley or its rains, but I admit I miss those flamboyant displays of color that burst forth with early crocus and then leap to daffodils to tulips to flowering plum and cherry trees. And then to azaleas and rhododendrons, not forgetting iris and dahlias and all those blossoms whose names I know not. Spring in the valley is the best reason for being there.

The renewal season is definitely different at 3000 feet. I have yet to see a tulip—or anything—blooming, or any sign of flowering trees. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I like the stark, tall pines and the newly scattered cones that lie like helpless infants at their feet. I like the sandy dirt trails, the still dormant sage, and the high mountain views.

And anyway, I'm pretty sure the season is turning. The grass in our tiny yard is greening, leisurely, and tight, tiny buds have appeared on unnamed shrubs—that's in the front. The back is dirt with a few pine trees. We have our work there cut out for us. I know little enough about gardening; landing in a zone 3 climate won't improve my meagre skills, but maybe the county extension service newsletter will.

The true sign of spring around here is the sense of anticipation that is inescapable—hitch up those horses and let's go—and the increasing number of events on the city calendar. There's already been a track meet or two at the high school and yesterday I saw a boy in a baseball uniform hurrying off to practice. On Friday the town hosted a parade of student art, a gallery walk (wine and munchies) and entertainment. A dinner and auction followed on Saturday, with proceeds to support art in Sisters schools.

It seems impossible that we could get bored, but if do we can head to Redmond or Bend, which have their own busy schedules. This week we're visiting Madras for the "33rd annual Small Farmer's Journal Horsedrawn Auction & Swap." I've never seen an auction drawn by horses and feel it's something not to be missed. I'll let you know what happens.