Off the Cuff

By Shelley Fowler

I am so happy! As I write this, the bright light of the mid-March sun is shining through the stained glass window in my kitchen, throwing golden patterns across the wooden floor. Outside that same window, the sparrows of the air are flitting across the yard, chirping their joy which mirrors my own. In just a few days, the calendar will make it official, but the birds and I already know what has happened. Winter has skedaddled, and Spring has arrived. Hallelujah!

Yes, the Winter was a tough one for our county. There were many negative experiences that we all had to endure. The cold, the snow, the ice, the loss of livestock, the high cost of heating our homes. But, being an eternal optimist, I also see many good things that resulted from the harshness of it all. Playa lakes have been replenished, thus giving not only the migrating geese water to drink and swim in, but all wildlife a place to quench their thirst. The winter wheat fields, generally sparse and dry, have been transformed into circles and squares of emerald green. And all that snow gave us over four feet of ground moisture. Soon, the lilac bushes will bud out, and the tulips and daffodils will grace us with their beauty. The winter woes will be replaced with the glorious renewal of life, and I have a feeling that in less than a month Cimarron County will be prettier than it's been in many years!

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Last week, the “kids” and I got to return to one of my most favorite places on earth - the Munson quarter west of town. It had been months since I'd been able to walk the rutted dirt tracks. The snakes that had scared me off were nowhere to be found, sensed, or feared. The thunderous sound of silence was so profound it almost hurt my ears. And the heavens were cornflower blue, smeared here and there with a far-off cloud. The tall prairie grass had been laid flat by the snows, but against the ground I could see just a tinge of green, a tinge of new life. The dogs hit the ground running, sniffing, and chasing after scents they hadn't smelled in so long. And as I walked south and watched them run the same direction, I was filled with a sense of peace, just as profound as the silence. I stretched out my arms, breathed deep the pureness of the air, and said to the sky, “Thank you, God”. And I smiled for the next mile, as I walked through this little piece of heaven just a few miles from town.

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Probably like many of you, I often think of people I admire. But I don't always take those thoughts to the next level, which is letting the people I admire know that I admire them! So may I now share with the world my thoughts about several people here in town.

Faye Pitzer just celebrated her 95 th birthday, and still she works in her yard. I admire her tenacity and spunk! Millard Fowler, my uncle, is 93 and he just purchased a four-wheeler. I admire him for pursuing life and new modes of transportation. Norma Gene Young (I won't tell her age) has chosen to live life on her own terms and I admire her decisions. I admire Helen Etling, Helen Moore, and Helen Flippin for their devotion to their husbands. Even though they face some health challenges themselves, they visit their husbands every day at the nursing home. I admire Judy Gabriel who has been on chemotherapy, but still she continues to ride her bicycle around town and share her smile with us all. And I admire Ross Ricks, for his devotion to his wife, Lee, and because I have always sensed that he had a kind heart. He always greets me with a warm hello when we meet, generally on an aisle at the grocery store.

There are so many other souls I also admire. And I'm sure each of you have your own list, as well. May we all take the time and make the effort to let them know of our admiration!