Weathering Lows

snow 0319We need the moisture. We need the moisture. This must become our mantra; otherwise, the weather might depress us.

I read a book on witchcraft (Wiccan philosophy — it may have been called The Magic Power of Witchcraft) many, many (many) years ago, so many that all I remember is that it suggested that outcomes are the result of thought, and if many people have these same thoughts, it amplifies the power.

I suppose if that were truly the case, Australia would have thought its way out of extreme drought long ago. And all the moisture of one season here in southwestern Colorado, particularly more south and west of Gunnison, will not erase years of drought overnight. Or overMarch. But the weather is certainly trying.

And trying it is. I am feeling very put upon by snowflakes again this morning.

This is how much it has snowed in Crested Butte this year — and this starts off sounding flippant, when it’s truly deadly serious: three people were buried in two separate roof avalanches over the weekend, and one of them died. There is enough snow on building roofs to entomb grown men as it slides off.

No amount of moisture is worth that kind of sacrifice.

The weather guy on CBS Denver (not Chris Spears today, but Ashton Altieri) was, of course, focused on Denver, where it is scheduled to be 60 degrees today; warmer, he said, than any day in the past five weeks. But snow’s a-comin’, just one day later.

And apparently it’s not the snow we are experiencing right here this minute in Gunnison, but another massive wash of moisture brimming up from Arizona, which is one of those statewide and statelong globs of green on this morning’s radar. If you live on Colorado’s eastern plains, you might want to spend today’s warm temperatures rounding up your livestock, because tomorrow calls for blizzard conditions, with lots of snow and high winds. Seventy mile-per-hour high winds.

The forecast here is much less dire. Today we get our new regular mix of snow, sun and rain, followed tomorrow by snow of less than an inch and perhaps wind in the teens.

My sister Tia arrived from Denver yesterday, driving, she said, mostly on wet roads with a few flakes of snow. She returns home a few hours from now, and will likely be on roads that are a bit snowier.

I don’t think I’ve told this story here before, but I tell it all the time, so stop me if you’ve heard it before. (Good luck with that.) My junior year in college, in Boulder, we got a very wet spring snowstorm in May, on the day I was scheduled to leave school and head home.

These were the olden days, and to see what grade you got in your classes without waiting a month or more for a “report card” to arrive in the mail, you went to your classroom, where the teacher posted — by Social Security number, if you can imagine such a thing (ironically, it was done to protect your identity) — your class roster and grades.

Grades were apparently important enough that I slogged through three to five inches of wet slush to see what my grade was in “Popular Culture” (that’s not quite the right name, but close enough). It wasn’t important enough that I can remember it today (an A or a B), but I walked 15 minutes through slush to look at this letter on a piece of paper, then 15 minutes back to my apartment.

My tennis shoes were sopping wet, and here is where I made what seemed like a big mistake but ultimately proved providential: I changed out of them, because my feet were wet and cold.

I may have owned more shoes in those days, but I apparently only took two pairs to college, my sneakers and my cowboy boots. No winter footwear. Perhaps I took that home over spring break, figuring it wasn’t needed. Or maybe I really managed to go all winter without boots, although that seems unlikely.

Anyway, I swapped my wet tennis shoes for dry cowboy boots and proceeded to load up my truck with all my belongings, which required several trips. And what do you suppose happened to my feet? Right, they got all wet and soggy again, and now I had no dry footwear for the trip home.

I had to return a television set I had borrowed from the Bartlesons. Post-divorce, Micki and her two daughters, formerly my next-door neighbors in Gunnison, had moved to Boulder, where they served as my home away from home. I had borrowed a TV, and my last stop before leaving for Gunnison was to track Kris down at her high school (another thing no one does casually anymore — just walk into a school and roam the halls) to find out how to return the TV.

We discussed me putting it in their house, and then Kris said, “Why don’t you just stay there?”

The weather was continuing to deteriorate, and her suggestion made eminent sense, but I was impatient to be on my way home. I thanked her for the offer but said no. By the time I got to their house, however, my feet were unbearably wet and cold, and I decided to stay put.

The next day, as I drove between Boulder and Golden on clear roads in sunshine, I counted 13 cars tucked into snowdrifts on the sides of the road. One of them could have been me but for my rash, poorly-thought-out decision to change shoes in the middle of slushing around.

I don’t know that we’re into spring storms yet here in the High Country. I mean, the temperatures have risen to the Snain Point, a handful of robins have been sighted and a few foolhardy trees have started to bud. But we’ve just slid from precipitation event to event this entire year, without much pause. If winter ended and spring began, I’ve missed it. And I am ready for it to stop snowing. No matter how much we need the moisture.

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