"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

11 March 2010

Mud Season

There have been annoying snows over the last few days. Little showers here and there. Just enough to cover the exposed areas with a light dusting, before dissolving into the sunlight and wind. Then again, the cycle repeats. The chill in the air is not quite as biting as it was even a week ago. All around, the exposed ground is saturated, giving it a bog-like quality. Dirt roads are rivers of mud.

Long ago, I was told there was only three seasons in the mountains; sun, snow, and mud. My father sought to remind me of this when I first started talking about fucking off for the pointylands. Having lived here now, I have seen truth in that little supposition. The four seasons, as those in lower elevations know them, border upon mythology up here.

Mud Season is the bardo time between snow and sun. That point when the snow begins to loosen into slush and the ground starts to appear once more. When the cowbirds and finches first reappear at the feeders, heralding the arrival of the grosbeaks, robins, and hummingbirds. It's that time when it can be wonderful to be outside, whether it's doing some snowbound activity, going on walkabout, climbing, or just taking in the view, or hurrying indoors before the next storm. This is the time when the ski resorts begin to sing their swan songs, the season officially ending within the next month or so, whilst the hardcore snowbums look to the backcountry outbacks, where one plays odds against avalanches, and places where the snow never melts for their kicks.

The last round of snow ended earlier in the day, and the sky is clear, as are the exposed patches of ground. Stiff breezes howl trough the valley. I watch snowdevils dance along the summit of my personal Kilimanjaro. Meteorological prophecy speaks of two warmer days, two cooler, then another warm up. I scheme to do a walkabout in the next few days, and try to restrain any cynicism about the manic weather of this time of year. I've lived in Colorado most of my life, and I know foretelling the weather can be a roll of the bones.

Still, the days are getting longer. The air feels just a little warmer. There are different wild birds about than just the ravens, crows, and magpies. I recognize those omens. It might be mud season here and now, but Sun is on its way.

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