Faron Wahl, Manager.
Last week I wrote about a handful of happenings from 1918, and how such a re-visit of history is a worthy task. Staying in the vein of comparisons, we’ve witnessed recently here at the village the most amazing transformation of conditions seen in a very long time, providing an incredibly stark before/after contrast.
Our record-snowfall April, capped with the late blizzard, reminded all of us that South Dakota’s nickname “Land of Infinite Variety” is not a misnomer. Even this week I continue to be reminded of the truly wild spring transformation unfolding; how stark the disparity between white and green and how rapidly one replaced the other entirely. Here’s a smattering of contrasting vignettes from across our grounds:
On Monday, April 16, I parked at our west gate off Highway 34 and walked from there to the office, nowhere close to being able to traverse even that short distance in a 4-wheel drive pickup. Two and a half weeks later, loads of consigned equipment for our auction were being hauled in that same gate, subsequently staked in tidy rows precisely where the appearance of frozen tundra prevailed only days prior.
On that same Monday, I walked several times over the open gate directly in front of our gift shop. That’s right – over, not through. The drift of snow blocking the entire area was fully four-plus feet deep, and hard enough to walk on as though I was wearing snow shoes. Exactly thirteen days later, the dust blowing through that same (bare) intersection made one duck and squint just to see the gravel road ahead of one’s boots.
The giant drift that had gracefully curled itself along the north side of our gift shop in the 50 mph blizzard winds was measured at well over seven feet tall the week following the storm. This rapid spring shift then saw me taking a photo of our staff member, Haley, mowing emerald-green grass in that same spot soon after, the terrain appearing as though it had been spring for many weeks. Such before/after photos are remarkable, especially considering the brevity of the time lapse between them.
East Street in the village played host to a massive drift running down the center of the roadway for an entire block, starting at a full six feet tall on the north end and eventually dissipating further south. Slightly more than a week later, I guided a Coca Cola truck bringing our first soft drink delivery down the same street, the only remaining evidence of winter being wet gravel.
If those paired examples aren’t vivid enough, consider the triple-hop from a lingering snow drift blocking the office steps, to sunny conditions in the 80’s on auction day just over a week later, to a tornado warning immediately west of us in Miner County only three nights after that. Advising our new campground host on real-time use of tornado shelters while my #12 aluminum scoop was still standing by the office door to keep the front steps passable is, well…. quite the transition to absorb.
We’ve danced between mowing, scooping and taking cover at Prairie Village, all in a short period no longer than the Olympic Games’ tv coverage. If nothing else, it’s made for great conversation fodder, and I am reminded that I’m thankful we don’t ever get bored pondering what’s coming next.