I have two calendars. The first probably looks a lot like yours with 12 months and 31 days hath September and so on. You know, the calendar Julius Caesar reformed in 42 BCE that was refined by the Gregorians in 1582. Everybody knows that, right?
That calendar is where I write things like appointments for haircuts, doctor visits, teeth cleaning and vet checkups.
The second is my “Cody Yellowstone Calendar.” If I were to fall into a “Sleeping Beauty” slumber where I didn’t know how long I was out until a cowboy prince kissed me, I could still tell the time of year by the sights, sounds and smells around me, each offering clues about what is happening and what is about to happen.
Here are some examples and their meanings:
- While I was up the Wapiti Valley the other day getting in some late runs at Sleeping Giant Ski Area one of the boarders told me that snowplows (snowplows one word) inside Yellowstone were starting to clear roads. That means winter is coming to end and we should stop climbing waterfalls.
- When the plows make it all the way to Pahaska TeePee the hotels inside the park will start to open along with various summer activities.
- When the ice breaks up on Yellowstone Lake we can head out to fish for trout.
- Here in town I will soon see lights on at the seasonal operations. That means owners have returned from Florida or Arizona RV resorts and will be opening their campgrounds, guest ranches and gift shops.
- When a gaggle of folks with binoculars around their necks are seen heading to local wetlands, spring is here and the birders are excited.
- Same thing when yellow, red and purple wildflowers release their sweet smell. That’s when I keep my eyes peeled for bears coming out of hibernation and new bison calves romping in the meadows.
- If the breeze is blowing just right and our windows are open, I can sometimes hear Dan Miller performing his vocal exercises and Wendy Corr strumming her base in preparation for Dan’s Cowboy Music Revue show. The evening he lets loose with a full-throated yodel I know the season is upon us.
- The Cody Nite Rodeo works with a company that supplies livestock for bull riding, and I always look for familiar trucks and trailers heading to the rodeo grounds for the summer season.
- It’s mid-summer when even more rodeo riders are crowding around the bars at the Silver Dollar and the Proud Cut. The Cody Stampede is in session.
- At the same time, I know that marching bands in the middle of the day are performing for one of our Independence Day parades.
- The sound of blanks being fired and the smell of gunpowder mean that the gunfighters outside the Irma Hotel are recreating some not-so-authentic Western battles. If I’m lucky I get to hear some true cornball humor.
- The smells of barbecue and beans cooking mean the summer dinner shows are up and running.
Every year the general excitement in town gets kicked up a notch and is palpable, but I feel it coming months before it hits peak. And right now it’s starting.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and its welcome signs – in Cody Yellowstone.