– We’ve turned the corner from a 4 wire winter to 3 strands of exposed wire. (That is if it’s still nailed to its post or not). Signs of Spring are pouring into our valley. Hawks, geese, bluebirds, robins, and red wing blackbirds have returned. Sandhill Cranes have returned, at least in the lower high valleys… if that makes sense.
Hard frozen creeks are beginning to open with pockets of water pouring over beaver dams or coursing around large rocks. The sound of running water is faint and heartening to those who take the time to hear it. As nighttime temperatures drop the sound of water and birdsong fades and night becomes silent altogether. Orion angles his way westward chasing Taurus and the remains of winter while the Big Dipper is coming around up side down to pour out its contents on us all Springtime long.
These days most mornings have become soft and welcoming. Instead of the harsh lung stinging mornings we are reveling in temperatures that hover just below freezing. Balmy. It’s funny to think back on 30 degree mornings in October and our bodies stiffening against that bone cold. Now, with April here, those same temperatures feel mild and pleasant against the exposed skin on our faces. Teeth once clenched in January become easy smiles full of laughter. The sound is surprising mixed with birdsong in the background.
But caution comes with wispy mares tails speeding across the sky. A change in the weather will come and it has been known to be extreme (to paraphrase Bob Dylan). Clouds smother our high mountains and daytime cold returns with a shock. Snow blankets deep mud and tiresome gripes and complaints and painful moans escape embarrassingly from neighbors’ lips. We all know better but somehow these laments become vocalized when we know the listener has been thinking and feeling the same thing and nothing can be done about it.
Spring Fever preys on old timer and newcomer alike.
Cabin Fever is another hard to cure ailment. It can suck the energy right out of a person as quickly as an Arctic cold front descends from the Bering Sea. With snow flying and the temperature sinking, some will feel isolated and the fear of opening the front door to go outside is petrifying. They feel trapped. The cabin walls somehow have become closer and the rooms are smaller and the ceiling is quite a bit lower as those persistent winter winds batter the house and topple long standing trees. There is no cure until the cold front passes and perhaps a Glacier Lilly shows itself.
Chasing Weather Sucker Holes may not be considered an aliment but it does have its consequences. Aligned with Spring Fever and Cabin Fever, Sucker Hole Chasing is a desperate calculation at seeing a small break in the clouds with a hint of blue sky poking through and betting you can squeeze in a bike ride, a south facing rock climb, or a quick hike before the nastiest joke Mother Nature can play on you closes in around you. The consequences are a bone soaking drenching, hard biting painful hail, wind whipped snow, and a game of skill named dodge the lightning bolt. How good are you? Only the brave or the ignorant or only the sucker-hole-sucker will give chase and play.
Spring is showing itself in the mountains of Colorado. The changing of the seasons is a wonderful thing. Living up here requires learning to take it one day at a time and loving the blue skies and warm temperatures as well as the cold storms, dark low hanging clouds, ice, and mud. Ah, Springtime in the Rocky Mountains.