In Wild Basin last week, with two to three feet of snow on the ground, I went looking for the creek. Last summer, the St. Vrain was rushing, over-exuberant and spilling over the banks, but in this winter of heavy snows, only the distant sound of rushing water reveals its location. Copeland Falls was completely hidden, disguised as a white hillside (below). It’s only my memory that knows where the falls are, that can picture them under their disguise as they were last summer: a thick, clear curtain of water plunging over the boulder (below, the falls last June).
It’s good to remember these things now in the deep of winter, when spring seems a long way off. How long will it take for the sun to melt the almost four feet of snow behind my cabin, where it’s sheltered from the desiccating winds and sun? To get to the water pump, I’ve had to shovel a path through the snow, which keeps getting filled in with every new snowstorm.
Along St. Vrain Creek last week, everything was subdued, except where the creek managed to break through the ice, forming a blue eye that provides just a glimpse of the dark cold water underneath the ice. In another section of the creek are strange holes, like the kind Alice went down, surrounded by piles of snow. What created these?
Way above this valley is a deep blue Colorado sky. But down here everything is covered in white: the rocks, the trees, the creek. If I can listen hard enough, somewhere under these piles of snow lie spring.