“In the spring, at the end of the day you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood
This is a great time of the year! The cold, dark nights of winter are giving way to the longer, sunshine-filled days of March, and the promise of spring hangs in the air.
This is also the time of year when washing machines are working overtime as kids always seem to find patches of ice on which to slide (which always mask water underneath their thin layers) and mud puddles in which to slosh. So out come the rubber boots and thick socks, but parents in Saskatchewan are wise enough to know that snowsuits and winter boots cannot be safely stored away until late May.
After being cooped up during those biting cold days of January and February, children are eager to be outdoors playing. Not only have the higher temperatures warmed up the air but they have also made the snow perfect for building forts, snowmen and snow sculptures.
When our son was little he loved to roam the farmyard at this time of year finding interesting places to do just these things. He also loved to makes trails through the snow to the outlying buildings, no doubt pretending to be on some great adventure. Our dog would keep him company (every hero needs a sidekick) and I would check on him from time to time to make sure he was fine. One of his favourite activities was climbing the pile of bales in the calf pen.
On one such sunny afternoon, I was working in the kitchen as my little guy played outside. It had been a few minutes since I had checked on him and was just about to do so when suddenly the back door was thrust open and my 5 year old son stood there screaming, “Mom, why didn’t you come when I called for you?”
I quickly ran to the back door expecting to find him injured and possibly bleeding. But other than crying tears of frustration he looked just fine, except for one thing – he was barefoot! There he stood, dressed in a winter jacket, splash pants, toque and mitts, but minus boots and socks.
It seems that when he jumped off the pile of bales into a snowbank he emerged without any footwear. After rooting about in the snow for a few minutes and not being able to locate his boots, he chose to make a beeline for the house. But on his way there he decided to take a shortcut through the garden which the warm sun has started to soften up. He barely made it across and ended up losing his socks in the squishy, sucking mud. (Even the dog knew enough to go around.) Then it was back out across some snow banks which still surrounded the house (at least this cleaned off his dirty feet) before he arrived at the back door in quite a panic.
I tried to hide my smile as my little boy was quite indignant and upset with me for not coming to his rescue when he yelled for help. It was even more difficult not to laugh as I pictured him scampering through the snow in his bare feet. Later that day his dad would recover the boots, but the socks remained in the garden for several more weeks.
Yes, it’s a fun season all-right. I just hope that all the parents of young children have stocked up on extra socks and detergent, and maybe even an extra pair of boots!