The yellow-bellied harbinger of Spring tilted his head back and told a tune of how happy he was to see the tall grasses grow again. His notes echoed off the ground through my feet and out of me. Then, he flew away.
I have never experienced anything more awakening than springtime. 2 years ago, St. Louis, MO introduced me to a new world. One that was regenerating from mono-tone days and cold nights. Every stalk of grass and every flower bud was fighting for it's life and winning. Every ray of sun layered on another color. It was as if I opened my eyes for the first time each day. My second Spring has begun and my eyes are new again.
The trail rolls into meadows spotted with cacti, yucca, and a few deer. My heart pined for Tarzan on leash. I wanted to roam free, too.
We encountered a rattlesnake on our first hike. We were warned they would be coming out with the sun. "Make a lot of noise with your feet. That usually scares them away", they said. We may have shuffled our feet once or twice but quickly forgot the rangers advice. I, too, like to bask in the sun's glory. Or, get caught hands-up in a breeze. Forget the material world and immerse into all that is natural around me.
I thought of it as a good omen. It's hard to pick and choose what is or isn't beautiful when in the middle of nowhere. No car honks. No exhaust fumes. Easy choices. But, snakes come with the territory and I'll take it. How many days have I missed them already? How many mornings stuck in traffic when I could've met a rattlesnake along my path? We wanted to get closer to Mother Nature, to somehow become more in tune with ourselves. Well, I'll take it.
At the start of our hike, two little boys ran past us yelling into the wind. Our initial reaction was to roll our eyes. Just what we needed on our relaxing hike, a bunch of loud kids trailing behind getting Tarzan excited. At one point, a lady facing us down the trail pointed out that "we lost one of our boys". She made eye contact and shook her pointer finger furiously. We turned around and saw that one of the little boys had turned to head back. We were a little nervous too since we had not seen them with anyone. Grandpa soon emerged into eyesight.
A tall, thin man in khaki shorts and mid-calf socks. His grey hair the only clue to his age. He waded with the boys in water. He raced them to the top of over looks. He taught them about a bird that soared by. He spotted the rattlesnake first. We dubbed him the Best Grandpa Ever for his ever curious, ever kind, young spirit. He offered to take several photos of us. He turned the camera several angles. We changed poses a few times. It's rare we get photo ops of all three of us together. Later that day, looking through our photos we realized that every one he took was of our feet or rocks. We cannot help but thank the Best Grandpa Ever for the laughter that ensued.
There is no air like air pushed down a waterfall.
Let me live that I may taste it every day. Horsetooth Falls.