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By Ann King
And then it stopped it, to tie its shoe. The days were bright and the skies blue, beckoning long hikes under a welcoming sun to sit on a breeze swept hillside and enjoy the grandness of nature. It’s been a good four months since I was last able to do that.
Tension and stress drain from my being like water flowing down a drainpipe. The weather channel promised a week in the upper 50s to lower 60s. On my next day off, I planned to return to the hill of tiny rocks. Wednesday, the necessary stepping stone of work, broke up days of wanderlust.
Work developed its own routine. Arrive at a quarter to nine, get a cup of Joe flavored with Cinnabon creamer. A seasonal favorite whose presence wanes as the months grow warmer. Walk past the donut case and try to ignore the temptation of the chocolate-covered Bismarks. Sometimes I resist, often times not.
The rest of the eight hour day passes with making the rounds of the store. Straighten, refold and rehang the shelves and racks of t-shirts that take on the appearance of a wad of old laundry after a crowd of customers stampede through. Fill the gaps on the magnet boards. Put items back where they belong after being left helter-skelter by those who changed their minds about a purchase. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I heard someone say, “It’s going to snow.”
Snow? It can’t snow. It’s the middle of March. Almost. Daylight savings time changes start next Sunday and we go back to a 40-hour workweek. I’m going hiking tomorrow. Collect pocketfuls of tiny colored rocks. It can’t snow. I look out the window. Clouds gather on the distant horizon.
Slowly, inexorable, the mass of churning dusty white spreads across the blue blotting out its existence as it advances in my direction. The sun retreated from the battlefield without a last glimmer. They were heavy clouds. I knew what they held for I had seen the like of them many times in my life. From the flats of Kansas to the mountains of Colorado. I’ll ignore them. Maybe they’ll go away.
At two in the afternoon, I chanced to look out the window. Snow flurries rushed past on the diagonal. Not big fat flakes, more a moderate medium-sized frenzy that subsided after 20 minutes. The sun peeked out shyly, then snapped the view closed and the last hurrah of winter had its way once more.
An hour later the manager asked me if I could work tomorrow. My day off. My last of three days off per week for when we spring the clocks forward, I’ll only have two days off per week. My long anticipated Thursday. Of course, I said that’d be fine. It was going to be cold anyway. I’d probably end up spending the day inside. Might as well go to work and do something constructive since I’m not going to be collecting tiny multi-colored rocks.
Well, there’s always the hope of next week. Sunshine. Blue skies. The weather may be iffy, but I know the rocks will be waiting for me. And, to date, I have never failed to find nifty ones to take home.