There were two signs of spring at the ranch where I grew up. Our ranch house sat at the headwaters of Logan Creek, a small stream that bubbled from the earth and threaded its way down the mountain to Shoshone River Reservoir. As the snow began to melt, along its banks tiny flowers began to push up through the snow, bright green leaves contrasting with the snow and ice, then tiny burst of purple, blue and yellow. A sign of spring.
The other sure sign of spring was the arrival of the Burpee Seed Catalog. We would hear Mom oohing and aahing as she read it from cover to cover, more than once; then she would take pencil and paper and make a list of what she would plant that year, often trying a new variety of tomatoes or corn. She knew how many seeds she would need in order to provide for a year's worth of vegetables.
But among those carrots, beans, and peas she always included a few packets of flower seeds or perhaps a few flower bulbs for she had the soul of an artist. When the order was mailed, she would begin preparing the garden, a plot of land carved out just below the house, sheltered by a rock wall. Then she would wait expectantly for the order-a sure sign that spring was very near.