I first heard a far-away drone of an engine and then it grew louder, slowly advancing like a flock of chatty geese migrating from the South. I stopped working, glancing up, then as the ground began to vibrate a bit I looked toward the window thinking "What the –?" And then it dawned on me – They're BACK!
The migration has begun! Street sweepers have returned to the North Country!
When the street sweepers arrive it's as if they are announcing the real beginning of Spring in Missoula. The new season is now truly upon us as proclaimed by city officials, who must have met yesterday and decided that they do not foresee any more need for dumping gravel on ice-covered roads. And so this morning they started up the fleet and sent them to the streets to gather Winter's grime and wash the asphalt clean – readying it for children's bicycle tires, rollerblades and bare feet.