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Old Cowbelle: Spring begins ... tomorrow?

--Ina Murray

Today, on the 4th of March, while I am typing this, there still is about five feet of snow on the deck, and it worries me that it may collapse under its load.

The calendar says that spring begins on the 20th of March. This column should appear on that week, and I am curious to see if it will seem like spring then?

One bitterly cold day, an E-Card arrived in my in-box that really gave me a lift! It began with a dead looking skeleton of a tree, with spiky branches spreading wide. Then, accompanied by soft music, tiny buds appeared on the branches, slowly opening into a splash of beautiful pink apple blossoms filling the entire tree! Thank you so much, E-mail friend!

It was lovely, and in my imagination, I could almost smell them….and lilacs, and freshly mown green grass! Won’t that be great?


Seeing photos on Facebook, it was hard not to envy the vacationing relatives and friends, seeing warm seashores in the background in Florida, California or Arizona! But how nice for them to be away from this area, even for a little while. I am happy for them.


But, getting back to winter…it was also fun to see the photos of some of the Birkebeiner participants, like Shannon and Brien Gindt, and their three boys, Logen, Landen and Lucas, all who took part in the events, the boys in the Childrens’ Birke. What a great family tradition to continue.

I learned more about the Birke this year. You would think an 87-year-old Norwegian would have known this before. But I didn’t. Spurred on by an article in the Gateway News, I looked up on the internet and learned that: The Birkebeiner race began in Norway in 1932, recreates and honors a Norwegian event. In 1206, two warrior soldiers called Birkebeiners (because of the birch bark leggings they wore) skied the infant Prince Haaken to safety during the Norwegian civil war.

Prince Haaken later became King of Norway, and the Birkebeiner soldiers became the symbol of courage, perseverance and character in the face of adversity.

At Hayward, the 41st American Birkebeiner race, about 7,000 skiers took part, some in the Kortelopet (half race) and some in the 30-mile Birkebeiner. (Mostly hilly terrain). And so bitterly cold that day!

Although there weren’t photos of him, my cousin Don Olson too has been skiing the Birke for years and this year received an award for participating for 30 years!

He said it was his slowest race in 30 years. Sounds impressive to me! I am impressed by all of them.

Must be that Norwegian blood running through their veins.