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Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

The snow pulls back its winter covers and brings up a whole new tomorrow for us. Where there was darkness and cold there is now light and hope and plans.

There is something about the sight of fresh, wet ground after the snow leaves, and we find ourselves walking out into the back yard each morning and looking to see if any shoots are coming up yet. Where exactly did we put those bulbs? Right along here, I'm pretty sure. And the buds on the peach tree seem to be swelling with the promise of rebirth.

Which plants are the toughest? Which will come up through the still-cold ground after the long winter? It doesn't matter, really. Except to us. Because we want to know.

It's the time of year when we don't really laugh any more when we get a canoe catalog in the mail. Hey, it's possible there will be warm weather and liquid water again, and there's that lake just over the last portage that we haven't tried yet.

It's dream time, and it's doing time.

The women want the houses clean, and the men want the yards to look nice. All of us want the car to run well and we're thinking about checking the sleeping bags for any feathery leaks.

There's that sun, just hitting the backs of our necks when we stand still in front of the house. The neighbors don't have to know we're standing there just to feel that warmth, that promise, that tiny hint that says later in the year we'll want the lemonade to be cold again.

We can always pretend we're watching the dog or the kids instead of delving into the hedonistic pleasures of sunshine. Look at the dog, though. Look at the smile behind the eyes as she runs around the yard with the reckless abandon of an animal bereft of the burden of domesticity.

She knows. We both know. It's spring.

Brought to you by "Sun Dog Days." Check it out at www.unmpress.com

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