Shoes crunch wet spring snow

juniper shapes are smudged, laden branches bent

IMG_0142ghost vapor swirls

’round the gnarled trunks,

drowns out the world’s sounds,

even May Day bird songs.

One of the most invigorating aspects of spring, particularly spring in the Rockies, is the total unpredictability of the whole affair. Two days ago I ran down a dry dirt road in shorts and a sports bra, my shoulders taking on a deep, red sun kiss. This morning I hiked into the chilled quiet of a snow coated juniper forest, my body warmed by wool layers, fingers adorned in thick gloves. Spring produces bipolar Rocky Mountain weather at its best.

Not all in the Roaring Fork Valley are thrilled about the drastic swings. During a phone conversation with an Aspen friend this morning, the friend declared, “I’m over the snow.” But it’s so pretty! I protested, to which he replied, “I’m over the beauty, too.” On entering the Carbondale library this morning I overheard the librarian apologizing to an out-of-towner for the weather. And on the street one man exclaimed to another, “This is crazy! But it’s a choice, I guess, to live in the Rockies.”

Sure, freak snow storms snarl traffic, slop up sidewalks and make spring flowers bloom a little slower, but they also provide the perfect reason to slow down, take in the scenery and admire weather doing what weather does: anything it wants. It also reminds people of something essential: they can’t control everything. In an age when we can control our work schedules, food choices, the temperature in our cars and the music on our Pandora radios, it’s comforting to know that ultimately, nature still rules.

In due time, Colorado summer will deliver long, 90 degree days of endless sunshine that stretch on for weeks at a time. Until then, I’ll enjoy this final burst of winter beauty, and hope that a few more unexpected bursts are on the way.