Spring in Montana can break your heart. One day you are pulling out the patio furniture and the next you are scraping the ice off your windshield. I used to resent this heartbreak I felt each spring. I wondered why I would continue to live in a place that repeatedly hurt you each year. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser) but I no longer feel this way. Rather than getting my hopes up and then crushed every spring I have begun to embrace it for what it is.
As the snow begins to melt, fresh green grass starts to appear. Buds show up on trees, the robins return and tulips push their way through the thawed out ground. These signs begin the initial tease of the season. The excitement starts to build with each finding. Before I would be sad when the spring snow storm inevitably dumps and covers all these signs. Now I see them, know it is not here to stay quite yet and let this sustain me. I take the happiness I feel when I spot that first robin or flower and tuck it somewhere inside, knowing the snow is temporary. I can take the small moments and remember they will get longer and the warmth will continue to grow. I will remind myself the snow will melt quickly and is simply adding extra moisture to ensure a good summer to come. A summer that will hopefully be without forest fires that put a damper on camping season. I look for the good in the April snowstorm rather than being upset by it.
While I often look at people who live in warm or tropical climates with envy, I know they cannot appreciate the change in seasons like Montanan’s do. Their days blend from one week to the next, to a month with little change. Some places having two seasons…hot and unbearably hot. Without this change life sort of just goes on and on. Around here we notice things. We appreciate the snow melting away to reveal good things underneath. We can look at our mountains and see them turn from brilliant white to shades of blue and green and know good things are coming. We understand the value of a 60-degree day in March and we fully embrace it. Whether it’s by getting your bikes out or sitting on a patio at a brewery with friends, everyone incredibly happy after the hibernation of winter. If it’s just another sunny, hot day much like every day of the year you begin to take it for granted. I am grateful to live in a place where everyone appreciates the little things like warm sunshine. We all know we have survived a hard, cold winter and by turning your face to the sun and feeling heat after months of chill you can fill up to get through the ups and downs of a Montana spring until summer makes its beautiful appearance.
That’s not say I don’t have my moments of disappointment when a warm spring day is followed by a sudden drop in temperatures. When color was just returning to our valley and then is covered in white again over night. Rather, I have changed how I react to it. With a gentle reminder that it shall pass quickly. Unlike the first snowstorm of the season that hints at a long winter season to come, a spring snow storm is a brief setback before the best season in Montana can be welcomed to our valley.
Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.