By Don Nelson

We call them the shoulder seasons — spring and fall, the “tweener” times that we wait out until action-packed winter and summer arrive. Things slow down and grow more quiet, businesses take breaks, locals go on out-of-valley or off-the-continent vacations.

Of the two, it seems like spring gets the shorter shrift. Fall is summer extended, a lingering of soft light and mild temperatures. Spring is winter finally fading away, and we’re in a hurry to get on with it.

I was reminded of the difference this week during a short conversation with Tom Graves, who stopped by the newspaper office to transact some business. I mentioned that we were gearing up for summer, and Tom admonished me not to overlook spring.

Good point. Looking around, I see a lot going on and much to be grateful for.


Photo by Don Nelson

A street sweeper working on Cub Creek road. Photo by Don Nelson

This morning, a county road sweeper was stirring up big clouds of grit as it brushed winter’s detritus off of West Chewuch Road. I don’t know why a “clean” road makes any difference, but it seems to lift our spirits a bit (Winthrop’s streets were spiffed up a few days earlier). Spring cleanups have a refreshing effect on one’s outlook.

Looking south, I saw a hot air balloon suspended over the valley, sharply defined against a bright blue sky. A few minutes later, from Highway 20 between Winthrop and Twisp, I watched the balloon gently settle back to earth.

Commerce-related activity seems to have accelerated in the past few weeks. In Winthrop, Aspen Grove opened under new ownership, Nectar Skin Bar took up residence in the adjacent storefront, work progressed rapidly on the Cascades Outdoor Store next to Town Hall, and a substantial expansion was underway at Winthrop Motors right next door. Work continues on the second phase of Rocking Horse Bakery’s expansion.

In Twisp, a couple of empty spaces are being filled with new businesses. You’ll read about them soon.

Our events calendar is filling up weekly with all kinds of goings-on, some seasonal but others more like post-hibernation celebrations. The outdoor activities transition is evident. I’ve noticed more joggers and bicyclists on the roads, and fewer snowmobiles headed for the remaining wintry terrain. The ball field in Winthrop, barely dried out, is already seeing use.

I like going to work in daylight, and going home in daylight. I’m happy to stow my cold-weather wardrobe. My co-op bill is dropping back toward double-digit territory.

The color green is returning, but in the meantime the deciduous trees are mostly bare, which means we have interesting valley views that will be blocked when the leaves fill in.

The Farmers Market is back this weekend, albeit with fewer farmers than we’ll see later in the season. The market’s return is a reminder that growing season is upon us, and lots of folks are getting ready to garden. Me, I’m looking at a big yard and realizing it will need mowing soon.

I’ve always appreciated that the Methow has four distinct seasons, but maybe I haven’t been giving spring its due. So I’m going to embrace it right up until June 21, when summer officially arrives. No point in wasting any Methow moment.



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