When I was a kid my grandparents lived on a huge ranch in rural Nebraska. They had cows, chickens, dogs, horses, a donkey and a cat named Meesha. Meesha the Mouser to be exact.
The cat was sadistic. She would catch a mouse and toy with it for days. She'd rough it up a bit then put it in a tall, empty trash can so it couldn't escape. A few days later, when it was weak with hunger and dehydrated, she'd go back and get it out and just hold it between her paws. She'd sit outside on the deck for hours, just staring at this mouse, as if apologizing for her previous behavior. But just when the mouse would start to relax and look around a bit, thinking it was surely going to be set free, she'd decapitate it and leave the body at the door to my grandparent's bedroom.
And every time the calendar flips to March and emphatically declares it spring in Park City, I feel a little like Meesha's mouse victims.
Sure, we get a hopeful taste of sun-filled freedom, but it's always as short-lived as it is delightful. And Mother Nature can be just as merciless as Meesha.
This weekend the temps climbed into the 40s and it's like the town collectively shed its wardrobe of goose and duck feathers. I took the dogs to the park and people were flying kites and playing Frisbee and a few were even practicing yoga in the outfield of the park's softball field. As I walked Stanley and Boston, we passed a number of people out jogging in shorts and sports bras. It was only 45 degrees, but there's nothing quite as liberating as that first run after months of wearing an extra 20 pounds of clothing.
Over the weekend the honey and I got our cruiser bikes out and rode to the sporting goods store to buy softball mitts and balls. We played catch in the street with neighbors, all of us wearing shorts and flip flops. Later we barbecued our dinner and were delighted to discover there was still some propane in the tank. We couldn't be certain since the last time we fired it up was in early October.
Even the local wildlife was in a gleeful mood about the new season. Squirrels sprinted around my backyard, I saw a few moose lazily napping in the sun. I'm anxiously awaiting Tom Clyde's column in Saturday's paper -- just to see if there are any reports of birds building nests in the plastic ficus tree he spotted on Jupiter Peak.
By the time mid-March rolls around, suffice it to say, I'm over winter. I know it's blasphemous to say that, living in a ski town and all. But any joy I find in spring skiing pales when compared to the joy that comes with reading a book and sipping my morning coffee outside on my deck barefoot.
So, anxious to usher in that type of morning, this weekend I announced my plans to dig out and uncover the patio furniture. And that's when my own personal bubble of spring-filled happiness was ruthlessly popped by the man I live with. "Why would we do that so early? It's going to snow a whole lot more."
I was tempted to break up with him right then and there. Except I know he's right. There's still a lot of winter left. Mother Nature is just toying with us. There's no need to bring the sundresses and sandals to the front of the closet just yet, nor do I dare put away the ski coats.
Spring in Park City is the ultimate game of cat and mouse.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.