September 30, 2022
  • 5:25 pm Roger Maris leaves behind a record without an asterisk
  • 5:24 pm Texas gubernatorial debate to be televised across Nexstar stations
  • 5:23 pm Muleshoe Journal/Plainview Herald South Plains Stats Leaders through week five
  • 5:22 pm Fair booth with local ties hopes for continued community support
  • 5:19 pm One Guy From Italy doing Pizza Roulette for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

Well, if I doubted that spring has pretty much sprung where I live, all I’d need to do is take a look outside. Or just listen. (Sprung though spring may be, only newcomers here will bow to the temptation to set out plants before Mother’s Day.)

But the calendar says spring. And so, as I’m writing today, does the depressing sound of howling wind. All of this means that I’m right on schedule: I’m tempted to jump the gun with my plants. And I’m sitting here writing my annual “It’s Spring! Humbug!” column.

Oh, I love the changing seasons. I like winter, and I love fireplaces and snow, but enough’s enough, I guess. Autumn can be absolutely gorgeous. Summer’s got its own pull, but a couple or three triple-digit temps for me, and I’m done.

I admit that once I’ve made peace with spring’s arrival, I like to see green stuff growing (though I’m in no hurry for mowing).

But, if you’re looking for a bear to renounce hibernation quickly and joyfully, all bouncy and perky, with spring not just as his favorite season but also enlivening his step, look for another bear. Spring makes this bear surly.

It’s not so much the season itself. It’s not even mostly my bear-ish personality, though I’ve already confessed to being happier in “hibernating bear mode” than in “early bird catching the worm” mode. That bird can have the worm. If he chokes on it, it’s not my fault.

I’m also sure there must be many places where spring is amazingly beautiful and its appearance fills folks with hope.

But here, and I really do like living here . . . Too often here, spring means gale-force wind, blowing dirt, and rodents and small children flying by in the brown air. And in this drought, the even-worse-than-usual wind just depresses the life out of me. I despise it. I figure it’s almost miraculous that our entire area has not been completely blown away yet or burned down by wildfire. We’re ripe for it. (Fires did indeed feature prominently in the news today.)

Do I sound surly to you?

I can hear my wise mother calling me out on this. Out of deference to her, I confess that wind, dirt, and drought cannot make me surly. Nor can the mud spatters on my truck, evidence that mud in the air has been as close as we’ve gotten to rain in a long time. I choose to be surly. But surely Mom would give me this much: conditions like this make surliness much more tempting.

No doubt, she’d give farmers and ranchers much more slack. What they’re dealing with is heartbreaking, and I pray for the many being terribly hurt by this pervasive drought. May this wretched weather pattern change sooner rather than later.

I still hear stuff blowing around out there. It sounds miserable. Was that a ground squirrel that just hit the window?

I’ve thought before that perhaps we should pray in retrospect, pray that our forefathers had shown enough sense not to build in a place prone to impersonating a desert.

But they had lots of sense. And courage. And they could teach us a lot about faithfully enduring difficulty. But I think even they would call this an unusually serious drought (and the records show exactly that).

Of course, I pray for rain. And, of course, I really can’t prove a “cause and effect” relationship with rain and my prayers. (A good thing right now, I suppose.)

But I do know that God sends his blessings to me, to us, continually and amazingly, far more and far more genuine than we could ever ask or imagine, in good times and bad. And I do know that the rain will eventually return, and, for that, I will thank our Father from the bottom of my heart, knowing that it is his blessing.

In the meantime, it’s not bad for me to recall that the words “thank” and “think” have a related “root.” I need to think more about the blessings I have, even in the midst of drought, and be immensely thankful for them.

It might not hurt me to think a lot more about the folks whose homes and land are presently burning.

It might be very good for me to consider what the folks in Ukraine are going through right now. That abomination is harder to make sense of even than a drought, but a wicked misleader continues to let it burn and rage. I’ll bet Christians, and others, there are more thankful than ever for what they had in January. And I imagine that they are thankful indeed right now for any small comforts and aid. I pray for God’s help for them and for wisdom for our world in the senselessness and tragedy.

So I pray. I don’t want to fail to ask for God’s help in opening my eyes lest I let my soul slip into a drought of gratitude.

Last Sunday was Easter, which means that hope really does spring eternal if it is focused on our “Eternal Father, strong to save.”

Curtis K. Shelburne

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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