February 1, 2007
Is Mother Nature really ready for Spring?
Photo by Philippe Ramakers, dreamstime.com
It’s the last snow of winter. Big, juicy, snowcone flakes are
falling so fast I can’t see the trees a hundred yards from the cabin
window. I call the children to watch.
But my two teenage boys
are tired of winter and itching for spring’s grassy smells and soft
warmth. I, on the other hand, am entranced. I watch the shower – that’s
really what it is – and enjoy the quiet.
But how do I know if
it’s really the last snow of the season? There might still be more to
come. Spring-time in the Rockies is, as they say, an anachronism, and
white curtains of late storms have been known to close many a mountain
road in June.
There’s no doubt, of course, about which is the
first snow of the season. It’s the clear boundary between autumn and
winter. Everyone loves that first one: Light, bright, beautiful
coverlets over ponderosa pine and firewood piles. We bundle up, giddy
with the sudden snap. It’s time to practice our rusty snowball throwing
skills, strap on the cross-country skis and anticipate the hot cocoa
that will follow. We welcome and celebrate it.
gradually, certainly, we grow tired of this weather. The worst are
late-season storms that bring slushy, gray roads and no school closures.
“I’m sick of the snow,” my older son will moan. “I can’t wait for
I, too, get weary of leaden skies and trudging
around town in fleece jackets. In the city, snow is often a nuisance. At
the cabin, though, it can still be a comfort.
likes to tease us in spring. One day we notice a few vibrant crocuses
and, shedding sweaters, think, “That’s it for winter! Thank goodness!”
but we would be wrong. A few more tricks up her sleeve, the old girl
has; she’s a fickle muse. And here’s the proof: more snow!
is this the last? Maybe it’s the “last, last.” When my sons were small,
we’d read the final book before bedtime. At the end, though, one boy
would always say, “That was the last book ... now let’s do the last last
... and after that the last, last, last!” Sometimes this charming ploy
worked and there was, indeed, a “last, last” story. Maybe some earthly
charm will emerge and there will likewise be another “last snow”– or a
“last, last” snow.
Actually, I hope so. I’m not quite ready
to let go of this gift. True, the pale green of a mountain spring,
followed by the riotous colors of our cabin summer, call to me. And I
love those seasons, too. But right now, the fierce, white beauty is both powerful and peaceful.
then, in a moment, the snow stops. The flurries are swept away and a
tremulous sun emerges. The crystals clinging to the trees are fragile
and begin a sparkly melt toward the next stage. Somehow, I know now for
certain: This was our last snow.
Michele Price lives in
Colorado Springs, Colo., with her husband and two teenage sons. Although
the Prices escape to the mountains in all seasons, by June even Michele
has had enough of late snowstorms!
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