For a recent trip to England, our flight was delayed in Denver, and we missed our connection in Chicago to London, which meant we had to spend the day in an airport hotel near O’Hare rather than in the walled Roman city of York in England. I could be as frustrated as possible, but it wasn’t going to change things.
After our trip to the lush spring of England, I was looking forward to enjoying Boulder’s tamer version, celebrating with a bike ride around town. But the day after we returned, I woke to thick, heavy, wet snow. Instead of checking out Boulder’s newly leafed-out trees, flowering bushes and green lawns, I spent the day whacking snow off the trees, so the heavy snow wouldn’t break the limbs.
That same snowstorm dumped more than 30 inches of snow on Meeker Park (above and left), so I put off my planned visit to the cabin for a few days, hoping the warm weather would melt the snow, and I could experience spring in the mountains. But when I got here, snow covered the ground, and Mount Meeker was white from top to bottom, so white that I couldn’t distinguish where the clouds started and Mount Meeker left off (bottom photo).
On the drive up, I had passed through green fields north of Boulder, with the cottonwoods leafed out in all their glory. Yet here in the mountains I had returned to winter. When I passed the Alllenspark Community Center and saw the sign announcing the Memorial Day festival to kick off the summer, my first thought was that someone had forgotten to take down the sign from last summer, because surely we were in the middle of winter.
In the backyard at the cabin I found young aspens bent over, their top limbs caught in the deep snow; I set them free, hoping they’ll survive. For what I hope will be the last time this “winter,” I shoveled snow from the front and back porches and the path to the water pump. The skies were cloudy and gloomy. I wanted spring, dammit—flowers blooming, birds singing, soft spring breezes, leafy trees and deep blue sky.
But I knew there was something here that I loved, something deeper than a pretty place. When I went for a walk, I forced myself to drop any expectations of what the landscape should look like.
Once I did that, I noticed that the aspen leaves were just starting to unfurl—a startling lime green, especially against the white snow. The sky was still that deep dizzying Colorado blue. Mount Meeker still presided over its surroundings, looking even more dazzling with the blinding snow. A few hummingbirds had somehow survived the blizzard, and one posed on a telephone line against the backdrop of white Mount Meeker (above). Water was running everywhere, bubbling up to the surface in the streams, pooling in the meadows, dripping through the cracks in the boulders.
Even though a blanket of snow covered the landscape, the world was still alive. All I had to do was open my eyes.