Husband stopped the pickup last week as another spring snowstorm came rolling over the horizon. He stopped along the road where the horses were working on an alfalfa bale that we plop down to keep them content through the last of this harsh weather.
We were on our way home, where we will be laying low for the foreseeable future, watching the news and wondering what tomorrow will bring, just like the rest of the world. But my husband stopped in his tracks and marched out in the wind and dropping temperatures while I waited, watching the clouds turn a deep, menacing blue and witnessing the most quiet and impulsive moment in the home stretch of the longest winter.
He walked past the new palomino he brought home for me last summer, and the gelding we call RB, notorious for checking pockets for treats. He breezed by the two sorrels and grabbed a tuft of burs off Mac the mini horse on his mission to say hello to the thing he’s missed most during the gray days spent shoveling snow and plowing through the ice and slush and repairing things on this ranch and in other people’s houses while waiting patiently for the meltdown…
As my husband reached his hand out to scratch the nose of his old bay horse, to wrap his arms around his neck, to smell that sweet horse smell, I found myself holding my breath.
I imagined them saying things like:
“Well hello there. Yeah, I’ve missed you buddy. Lookin’ good. You’ve wintered well.
"We’ll get out there soon, friend. Just waiting on the thaw.
"We’ll be out there soon. Just waiting on the sun.”
It wasn’t a long moment, but after I released my breath and watched the wind blow through the bay’s mane and my husband pull down his hat and head back to the road and to life’s uncertainties, I felt like I should turn away.
Because I was watching old friends reunite after months apart. Friends who have grown up together and trusted one another that now just want to go back to the old days when the grass was green.
And even though the calendar reads spring, a season that brings so much promise and hope, I look out my window to find snow blowing across the prairie and piling up on the buttes just like my uncertainty and worry.
Because there are things we can’t control, a fact that lately has been sticking in the back of my throat, radiating up the back of my neck and sometimes streaming down my face.
But as I watched my husband step off the road, I was reminded what we’re made of out here, and how we got that way — by letting loose some perfection, dealing with the messes, brushing off the mud and dirt, fixing things that break with other broken things and leaning in against the winter with the promise of spring.
And as the clouds rolled in to stay for a few days, there were more things to fix and more news of uncertainty coming to us through the television as the sky spit and looked like it would make good on the promise of more snow, a spring delay…
But when my husband opened the door and reached out his hand to the life we chose, it reminded me that the grass is green under all that white and brown, and we’ll be out there soon. Just waiting on the sun.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.