Tales from the Cabin
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Last Snow

By Michele Price
Published: February 1, 2007
Photo by Philippe Ramakers, dreamstime.com
Is Mother Nature really ready for Spring?

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.
And then 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 spring.”
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.
Mother Nature 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!”
Ah, 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!
But 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.
And 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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