09 February 2011
And the Storms Broke
Snow devils dancing upon the summit of my personal Kilimanjaro...
For just a little over a week, I could count the days it had not snowed, not even the slightest phantasm of flurry, on a single hand, having several fingers and a thumb left over. All told, it looked as though we got an additional ten to twelve inches on top of the three to six inch base coat of snow that appears around the beginning of the long dark and lasts until around the vernal equinox. Perhaps I could have been glib, calling the succession of storms a sort of deep winter Arctic accented monsoon, but I might be the only one who would see the humor in it.
I was greeted with a bright, sunny day. Although the mercury read single digits on the fahrenheit scale, the sunlight gave an illusion of warmth as went about shoving walkways through the drifts. The wind, barbed gusts, kicking up snow devils along the peaks, mountainsides, and snowpacked roadways quickly dispelled this facade. I could feel the cold air lashing what little skin I allowed to be exposed, giving me pause to wonder if I'd not be tattooed with talon marks from the frozen breezes.
Still, it was the type of bright crisp day that one would expect naturalists and wildland eccentrics to prattle on about endlessly. You know the type; those cats who all but masturbate to Thoreau, all the time either unaware, or unwilling to acknowledge, how he would supposedly visit his mum for cookies and Emerson's wife for a little fucking when he was supposed to be all outback like. I might just be too cynical for that sort of thing. After all, most naturalists and wildland eccentrics probably don't go renaming the geological features around there areas after locals in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia because they see said area as a bit of everywhere and nowhere all at once. Be that as it may, I did catch myself admiring the righteous ascetic of the day.
A little over a week of near-constant storms can lead to a bit of cabin fever. Even if there are ample books, a full larder, and plenty of tea. There comes a point where you can find yourself being a little punchy. The feet itch to step out for more than scuttling to a vehicle or calling in the hounds. Whilst a full-fledged walkabout might still be a few days off, getting out for a bit certainly seemed in order.
So, Sabina and I bundled up to go get the post. Our funky little mountain township, this living ghost town, which sits oh so comfortably within the shadow of the mining days, was possessed of the silence that only comes in deep winter. A sort of tentative quiet as the sun shines down upon the freshly fallen snow. If this place was possessed of a personality, one could almost wonder if it wasn't trying to decide if it was okay to wake up a little now that the storms seemed to have broken.
Our walk was quick. Those gusts and snow devils did not encourage a prolonged stroll amongst the ancient buildings. I had visions of a steaming cup of earl grey and perhaps something spicy as a lunch. Still, it was enough to help abate the symptoms of cabin fever.
"I still want to go on real hike," Sabina said as we walked back.
I almost started on about how some schools of philosophical thought question the nature of what is real. There is always discourse on quantum physics. I decided against it. She was making a simple statement, and sometimes, that's all it is. The cigar being the metaphoric cigar.
"It's supposed to warm up over the next few days," I said, siting meteorological prophecy. "Even above freezing."
"Don't you believe it," she said with the sort of resignation one can get in deep winter after a little over a week of steady storms.
Part of me couldn't blame her for her pessimism. Meteorology in general seems to prove the chaos theory, making the likelihood of an accurate prophecy, beyond a few days, about as likely as hitting Alpha Centauri with a rubber band whilst standing at the lowest point in the Mariana Trench. A folk saying in Colorado is if one does not like weather, just wait five minutes. In the mountains above nine-thousand feet, ten miles from the Roof of the World? Doubly so.
It's true, prophets do not know everything and oracles can be dead wrong. I know this. Better than most, but not as well as some. Still, after the storms broke, I was willing to put a little bit of hope in the ten pence guess of meteorological prophecy. But perhaps I was being just a little Pollyanna, just far taller and with different anatomy.
"Tell you what, Mi amore," I began. "In two days, we'll see which of us is right. If it's me, we'll go on walkabout and you'll owe me a kiss."
"You got yourself a bet there, Mister," Sabina said with a smirk.