Baxter Black

by Baxter Black, DVM

When it’s springtime in the Rockies

And my lips are turning blue

I’ll be slogging through the blizzard

like a brain-dead caribou …

Ah, springtime.

That first hint of life beginning anew, the annual transformation, 

its throat in long tubercular coughs that turn rain into birdshot, sleet into ice,

ice into snowflakes shaped like goatheads or bob wire,

Not falling but slicing by you like shrapnel, sandblasting your face,

freezing your rein hand into a claw and turning forty-five degrees and balmy 

into assault with intent to stupefy.

Ah, springtime.

Brave wild flowers bursting from winter’s blanket, the trill of the mountain bluebird,

the exultation of a rushing brook, the whine of a spinning tire,

the splock of pliers dropped from your hand, the rattle of mudtags on a feedlot steer

that make him sound when he walks like a limping Moroccan bride.

That half brave, half scared elation of aiming your truck toward the muddy dirt road ruts

like a boat captain docking with the current, like fast eddy runnin’ one down the rail.

Ah, springtime.

The anticipation of a new bride or a butterfly waking in his cocoon.

Like Christmas Eve with all the presents of summer waiting to be opened,

The weatherman declaring winter’s over. Angels celebrating the vernal equinox

by hosing out Gabriel’s hog confinement shed,

Drip drying their laundry between the mountain tops and revving up the windchill machine

for one last recalibration.

Ah, springtime,

for me it’s best viewed through a picture window settin’ by the fire.

Once again you’ll hear me promise

You’ll be hearing from me soon.

When it’s springtime in the Rockies

I’ll be calling from Cancun …