"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

26 October 2011

Winter's Foreplay

Not that I'd ever accuse the media of overreacting, but when I saw the headline; Worst Storm in Two Seasons, I could not help but roll my eyes. Certainly, the first major snowstorm of the season, even and especially when it inundates the greater metroplex, can be a bit of nut-kicker as we all work on getting our snow legs again, but it is not the harbinger of a new ice age. By deep winter, at least in our little Sahel, if not the entire mountains, a snow like this will hardly be noticed.

At least I got to break in my new gators going to check the post, I told a friend via correspondence.  Any old excuse to field-test recently acquired outdoor gear. We all get our kicks where we can.

At both our residences, my friend and I estimated about a foot of fresh powder. One of the young punk-rockers next door excitedly loaded up his snowboard to take full advantage of the day. There was the most wicked grin of joy upon his barely twenty-one year old face. With more of a resigned shrug than anything, I brewed my first infusion of lapsang souchong of the season. The beanie Sabina picked out for me, African in its coloration and design, does a good job of keeping my head warm. Whilst the cats elect to stay inside, the hounds enjoy romping through the snow.

Just the day before, I was out on walkabout in hiking shoes and a fleece vest, as opposed to the fleece coat, hard shell, and boots that it became a good idea to wear upon stepping outside. Two days prior, down below, in the metroplex, the temperature broke an eleven year old record. There were still dandelions around the house, and that red columbine, which I'm convinced is immortal, was standing tall. Though once the snow melts I'll find out whether or not that theory of the deathless blossom holds water. I could wax flippant about the cliche of what a difference a day makes, but I live in Colorado; the weather in this part of the world is given to being wacky, and in the High Country near the Roof of the World, doubly so.
As the day has progressed, the clouds have lifted a bit more. I can make out Mount Pendleton's twelve-thousand two-hundred seventy-five foot summit once more. There's just enough of a glare reflected from the snow I require darker eyewear when stepping out. The snowflakes, whilst still big and steady, do not fall with such urgency as they did earlier. Because I have nowhere I am required to be I can gaze out the window and find the ascetic of the day kind of pretty.

I find myself wondering if we will look back on this particular snow event as the first day of High Country winter or just a little foreplay of the coming season. One cannot be sure, and I learned a long time ago marking the shedding of seasonal skins around equinoxes and solstices to be more than a little silly. The landscape sloughs when it sloughs, and that's just the way of things. Trying to affix an annual date on a calendar stands as testimony to the hubris and folly of a species of half-bald primate that calls itself Man.


  1. I was just looking at a photo a friend of mine in Colorado posted on Facebook. It shows a line of trees at Colorado University as they stood yesterday compared to the same trees today.
    Yes, the old cliche is quite appropriate. What a difference a day makes.
    There's a fifty percent chance I'll be waking up to ice and snow tomorrow. I should probably turn off my air conditioner.

  2. I will confess that the main difference between how the snow affected us and down below was there are still leaves on the trees and the weight of the snow did break some branches. When I was out walking, I could see the clouds building to the west, like the coiling of a massive serpent. It was quite impressive, actually.

    I don't know whether to envy you or feel bad that you have an air conditioner and need to use it so late in the year...