Spring is experiencing a temporary setback. “April is the cruelest month”, T.S. Eliot wrote. I’m not sure I agree. Around here, it’s to be expected that the crocuses bloom, then snow returns. Hopes rise and then clunk solidly back to earth.

Still, sometimes the only solace to be found is outside. The house (and the mind) feel too confining. Closed up with the stale funk of winter. A person can only write and paint and brood for so long, then she has to head for the woods. My walk today found me snowshoeing along the Cle Elum River in a steady downpour that alternated between snow and rain-snow. The air was damp and raw, and it felt good to pull my hood over my head. Hoods keep me from hearing as well as I’d like, so there were frequent stops to listen with hood down. I hear turbulence, the river filling with melting snow and crashing around everything in its path. This is the sound of rocks being polished and moved. Moving water hypnotizes me, following the path of least resistance while changing constantly. Maybe a second of a stream’s life is like snowflakes–each one unique.

In the river, two male mergansers competing for the attention of a female. On the way home, thirty elk in the road at Hex Creek, flowing as one body and turning to look at me as I passed.

April is not cruel. Hope is there if you know where to look.

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