This morning I began my commute by heading west from suburbia. The arched backs of the foothills were white, dotted by evergreen trees drying off from a shower. The front-most hills were merely sprinkled with powdered sugar, a green sweet loaf waiting for a hiker's dessert. The aptly named Red Rocks Amphitheater spread its auburn wavelength proudly, reminding passersby that soon the benches would replace the sky's deposit of snow with rock fans raising their arms and cries in a heavenly direction.
Heading north, I saw that Green Mountain had been rechristened White Mountain, a smooth blob of shortening atop seasonally lush green fields, the snow stopping approximately as the slope leveled. The drive up C-470 was not unlike a summer trip up Trail Ridge, but instead of passing the enchanting timber line I instead crossed an eerie snow line -- for a hundred yards the right side of the highway kissed the gossamer snow sheet.
The mountains stretched north from Golden, a white wall delineating the watered daily world from the snow-covered land of adventure. But Golden's guard to the east, South Table Mountain, sat resplendent in its green dress, not a speck of dandruff to be seen.
Some say that on Samhain the veil between the worlds is thinnest, that we may catch a glimpse to the other side. Yet this morning, early Beltane season, I have passed through the very edge of winter as I passed from one point of spring to another. Perhaps masculine and feminine are not blue and pink but white and green.
Whatever the reason for warm winters, this is the first season that's felt like I remember the winters of the '80s. There's a blizzard right now and the last blizzard hasn't finished melting yet. That seems to be an appropriate prototype of winter weather.
Last Thursday it was too snowy to drive to work. Instead of carpe tobagum (seize the sled), I slavishly tried to get work done all day.
The next morning was Drumming Up the Sun at Red Rocks. I woke up at 5:30 and drove to Red Rocks without a problem. I then missed the way to the top parking lot and instead turned at the sign pointing to the Upper South lot, figuring that it wouldn't be a bad walk from there up to the amphitheater. Unfortunately, the snow plow had left two feet of snow along the road, so pulling into the south lot was impossible. I continued down the road, looking for a place to turn around. As I went down the hill it got windier, blowing snow into drifts across the road. I figured I'd get down to Morrison, turn around, and go back up when I encountered an abandoned car stuck in a drift. I figured this would be a good place to turn around and attempted the maneuver. Unfortunately, I'd progressed to far into snow drift land to make that an easy task. Out came the folding army spade! 15 minutes of windy shoveling and back-forth-slide action I'd turned my car 180° and could see the sky brightening. I stepped on the gas and went nowhere. I put the Subaru in first gear and gave it a touch of gas. Still nothing. Between the hill, the blown snow, and my male-pattern balding tires (just before I was going to replace them I had $2,000 of repairs under the hood), I was stuck. So I grabbed my drum bag and walked up the hill.
Wading through ankle-deep snow I climbed the ramp and stairs and made it to the top of the amphitheater just as the sun crested the eastern horizon. I caught my breath, took a few pictures, and joined my fellow drummers for a few minutes before they all concluded and headed for breakfast. I got a ride in an SUV close to my car. I was going to try to start it again, but in the intervening time a guy in a pickup had gotten stuck in front of my car. He explained that he'd tried to go around, but that hadn't worked. Reverse also didn't work. He further explained that he was wearing sandals. Who the hell wears sandals in a blizzard? I figured the sandal man would take action to get his truck out of there, so I caught a ride to work in the SUV, figuring I could come back in the afternoon and a combination of plow and sun would have made escape easy.
Sure enough, plow and sun had improved the situation, but my car was now surrounded by plow walls. Again out came the folding army spade. I dug out the front of my car, but still couldn't get going up hill. I started to dig behind my car and the plow driver gave me a proper snow shovel. With the right tool, I was out in a few minutes, driving happily back to work.
I see about a foot of snow on my porch rail right now and it's still snowing hard. If, miraculously, it looks drivable tomorrow morning, I'll head to work; the office tends to be less distracting than home, especially if there's nobody else there. If I do stay home then by gum I'm going to carpe tobagum.
Apparently I forgot my lesson from college to go out and have fun for a while (e.g. go sledding) and I'll work more effectively. On the plus side, I'm tired enough to go to bed now which will make getting up at 5:30 for drumming up the sun at Red Rocks more feasible.
Colorado's been on national news due to the blizzard the last few days, but it's some of the best severe weather I can imagine. My Subaru (even with worn tires) had no trouble getting to and from work yesterday. The power stayed on the whole time, so Coloradans sat at home and uploaded pictures to the Internet. Others shoveled their sidewalks and ran around in the snow.
But the best part of Colorado weather? While hurricane alley takes months to recover from a disaster, ( our weather just slides on by (three pictures) )