The inversion has lifted, leaving a bright blue sky against the snow covered mountains. We, who have been cooped up too long between four walls, cannot wait to feel the sunshine on our face, to smell the air, to walk on earth instead of carpet. I load the car with 5 little girls and we drive. No one complains about the drive, because the excitement is too great.
We arrive at the farm. The wonderful scent of manure fills the air. I love the smell. It smells earthy, alive, and real. We are trackers, looking for animal tracks. We leave the beaten path and walk in the overgrown brush, tiptoeing so not to disturb the outlaw roosters hiding out in the marsh. My trackers don't find much, only chicken, dog, and horse tracks, but that doesn't stop us from searching in excitement.
Ladybug, our prima dona tracker, discovers an abandoned goose egg and carries it with us in the hopes of hatching it herself at home. Everywhere, signs of new life excite us. Sheep wool is scraggly and falling off, ready to shear. Every cow is pregnant, and two little calves are fed in the barn.
The snow on the ground is mostly melted so we jump over mud puddles, and fall into some. Well, what is a pair of white lace Mary Janes to the scent of manure mixed with waking soil, the feel of the sun on your cheek, and the happy sound of children exploring? Not a thing. I sit on a bench while the little girls play in the chicken coop. I close my eyes. My fingers still tingle under my gloves, and the bite in the air causes my nose to run but I am at peace. Spring will come... it is almost here.
Our drive home is joyful. All red vehicles are evil. Pictures are taken with a click of small fingers, then my passengers duck so the x-ray vision will not find them and do untold evil. Now, we prepare for a stay-late with the two extra girls.
Nature is valuable to our well being, as are good friends. So often I forget to include friends in our outings, but I believe that it is so important to encourage friendships with good kids. It's been a good day.