Cody is beginning its annual color parade. The lilacs that are so prolific in Cody will soon show their colors in hedges along the roads, in private yards and on the grounds of elegantly manicured hotels and museums.
I adore these hardy plants for their perpetual optimism. Even when winter is throwing final tantrums of snow, damp and cold, lilacs gracefully go about the business of being beautiful. They do this when we’re not paying attention. Today, they were saggy and brown; soon they will be vibrant and aromatic.
A metaphor, perhaps, for my own life. I pack away the heavy blacks and browns and pull out the frilly, flowy yellows, oranges and purples. I smell lilacs outside and Lysol inside my home. I crave clean windows and a neat closet. I trim back the crispy remains of my perennials and plant ostentatious pansies in their wake. My spring fever will shift into overdrive as soon as the lilacs appear. Because now, there is little time to waste. Summer will soon be here.
When the lilacs appear, a switch is thrown throughout the town, and summer-season attractions step up the preparations. Yesterday I saw an empty Cody Trolley drive into town, perhaps on a practice run to perfect the pace of the perpetually popular one-hour tour. There was some activity down at the rodeo grounds today as trucks rolled in and out of the parking lot delivering, I would imagine, the essential supplies needed to operate the country’s longest running nightly rodeo.
I saw an army of landscapers at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and across the street at the park a group of kids tossed a frisbee, jumping around the remaining soft spots of mud and goo. There is asparagus in the store and on the menus in my favorite restaurants. My favorite clothing store put a rack of sale items on the sidewalk for the first time since last year. While exploring the Buffalo Bill Center of the West I heard Dan Miller and his Empty Saddles Band practicing for the Cowboy Music Revue dinner and show. (They sounded terrific, by the way.)
And I’m starting to see the familiar faces of friends who fly south with the birds but come back to Cody in the spring. Soon I will be able to welcome them home with a bouquet of fresh lilacs.
Until next time I’m looking forward to the lilacs and loving life here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.