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In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.
Wake, said the sun,
And creep into the light.
Wake, said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little plant heard,
And arose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.
~K. Brown

Here in ALASKA, that season between winter and summer is referred to as “Break-up”. Until this time last year-until I saw through the eyes of innocence and wonder , there was no “Springtime!” for me here. Break-up signified the thaw of our Alaskan snow-pack: MUD. Dirty snow melting into an omnipresent ooze. Murky oily puddles, asphalt implosions pocking roads everywhere. I would long to hike the ridges still hidden under snow as I looked at the mountains from our front deck. I would morn the vanishing ski trails and kick myself for not getting out there more often when the snow was glorious. Break-up meant dormant brown trees juxtaposed against a grey sky. A world suspended. A seemingly endless wait for that sudden burst of green, the warmer days, and dry ground. I would tell folks, “DO NOT visit during break-up! It’s just UGLY here. Everything is dead this time of year- not representative of this beautiful place!”. I never knew just how much life was exploding around me until I took the time to slow down, to look a little closer, to join LO on her level in exploring our world. That spring, for the first time, the words “dead , ominous, and depressing” did not come to my mind. Words “waking –rebirth- fresh –and new” took root instead. Break-up evolved into Spring Time -a time of quiet, gentle growth and discovery. I made a promise to myself that I would not taint LO’s experiences with my own judgment and succeeded in getting us outside each day, no matter what. We distilled our outside nature experiences down to the small nature table we created by our large front windows. A silky of white and one of brown were entwined and laid out to represent the surrounding mountain terrain emerging from the snow. Each week we pulled more and more of the “snow” silky away after taking walks and assessing the changes outside. We noted how the days were slowly becoming longer , how the sunlight changed around us , and the different way it cast itself in alpine-glow(or “elfin -glow”, as DEA would say when she was a toddler)on the mountains in the mornings and evenings. We set out little tufts of dryer lint, yarn and pet fur for the birds to discover and use for their nests. On our nature table, we set a decorative nest and eggs. LO and DEA put together a see-through birdhouse and placed it in the upper corner of our living room window in the hopes of viewing bird life. (We’re still waiting to for a bird family to move in!) Around Easter, with snow still thigh deep, we stomped down trails throughout the property with our snow-shoes and examined the buds on the trees for signs of life. To bring a little of spring inside our house we gathered various branches to force in a vase. LO was so excited every morning to see the changes from the previous day. We guessed at what would be emerging from those tight tiny buds. Pussywillows? Alder leaves? Slowly the buds began to unfold releasing those fluffy grey puffs and bright green baby leaves! On a slower scale, the same miraculous stirring went on outside. The rapidly melting snow and the ensuing mud didn’t seem so onerous anymore but became great fun rivulets cascading down the driveway and onto our road. The puddles were just begging to be jumped in and many mud pies were baked. We walked hand in hand seeing, hearing and smelling the fecundity of the life coming back to our world, day after day. LO and DEA, reveled in this wet muddy world. They helped me to realize that fun and excitement and beauty could be found outside on even the dreariest days. There was no more “rain rain go away” for us. We simply threw on the rain gear and heralded the return of life.