Last night, headlights ablazin', our neighbor seeded the field just this side of the river, trying to get it all in before the rain, which came, as prophesied, sometime after midnight. Spring is late this year, after what folks from eastern Colorado to wherever--Ohio? Pennsylvania?--call the longest winter on record. We didn't have the snow that so much of the Midwest had, but winter, like a bitter old man, just would not find the door.
A late spring makes farmers more earnest than ever because they've got to the get the corn in. I went in for a blood test last week, sat in the waiting room for my turn, and listened to a couple of them yearn aloud.
"How ya doin?"
"Yep, mostly. What I don't got done'll get done soon."
"Wind yesterday, huh?
"Audley said he put in that section along the river because it's low, you know--tried to stay out of it."
"Yep, a lot of seed got in the ground yesterday."
Both nod. They weren't thinking much about blood tests.
My father-in-law used to say that old timers, out in the shed this time of year waiting patiently to plow ground, used to say that if you stood still you could hear the seed wiggling in the bag--that's how bad it wanted to get in the ground.
I don't know about that, but you can be sure those old timers were doing more than their share of wiggling themselves. It's spring. Finally.
Maybe this particular late spring explains the madness of that stump up above. Some claim that beavers are nature's own elite engineers. If you've ever seen a dam, the assessment fits. Others claim beavers are dumb as a box of rocks.
Which of those is true, I don't know, but I think the second is an awful thing to say about the flat-tailed rodent that won the West, the fur-bearer Hugh Glass and Jim Bridger and whole companies of mountain men were after. I think they deserve more respect.
Still, that felled cottonwood makes no sense. It's not along the river per se, it lies in a host of flood-felled trees, and it's one of the biggest around. Why choose that one? It's plain crazy. Whoever went after it must have been a binge drinker.
Maybe that nonsense is attributable to a beaver's cabin fever, a sense of the world's longest winter finally on its way out of town and the first whisper of spring's blessed wiggling.
Here's Mark Twain:
It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!This spring, even the beavers are wiggling down here on the Floyd.