Unsprung

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As we discussed just yesterday, I can’t remember if I mentioned it to you or not, but downtown for the last month I have been surrounded by people sure that spring is just around the corner. Or maybe it’s less certainty than hope, but most of the people espousing this foolish belief have lived here long enough to know better.

It may be that mine is not the only failing memory around, because if we thought back even to one year ago, we would recall that spring didn’t arrive until sometime in the summer. It snowed and snowed, and then snowed, and snowed some more, clear into June.

While depressing, it led to a better outcome than any of us could have hoped: professional water people were braced for Blue Mesa Reservoir to be at one-third of its capacity last summer when the snow came along and saved us, nearly topping off the giant water body. (Well, giant if you don’t live anywhere near a lake labelled Great.)

So we sacrificed our spring to the water gods in a move that paid off handsomely, and despite this, or perhaps because of this, we have Ben and Gilly at work exulting in every semi-warm day, exclaiming at how great it is to be done with the cold and both of them welcoming the advent of spring.

But it is February, which on any calendar in the northern United States is still in the thick of winter. And I don’t know about Pennsylvania, but here in Gunnison the prairie dogs all saw their shadows on the 2nd, so winter is here to stay by this most accurate of all predictors.

[Let us pause a moment to review Feb. 2. One of my many friends named Mark noted that it was a palindrome, the same backward as forward: 02/02/2020. Trying to find those in the calendar is harder than you might think: 900 years ago, he further noted, we had 02/11/1120, and there was always 11/11/1111. If you drop numbers, you had 1/9/91 and 9/1/19 . . . clearly, hours of fun are to be had with this numbers game. Enjoy!]

[Let us pause further to note that the Chiefs’ Superbowl win, in the LIV (which Lynn points out is the name of the Colorado Sotheby’s real estate agency) version that took place on Feb. 2, Coach Andy Reid got his first (or I) Superbowl win, but it was the 222nd (IIIIII — not really: CCXXII) win of his career. It would have been an auspicious day for him to buy Powerball numbers that all had twos in them.]

[Let us pause even further to note that Feb. 2 was the day, back in the early ’60s, when my mom and dad got married. There are pictures somewhere of one of my dad’s friends showing my dad, resplendent in Air Force dress, by dint of a wristwatch that it was time to be married, and my mom in her white dress on the arm of my grandpa — it looks like a fun day. But I wasn’t invited, so I don’t know for sure. My invitation showed up a year or two later.]

[And let us pause even yet further, now that I have made it to work and we’re talking about babies, to happily report that Fortino and Miyeli welcomed baby Leandro into the world this morning at the Gunnison hospital. I won the baby pool! This is a lucky kid for me: first Musical Chairs, now the baby pool . . . there’s no stopping the two of us. Fortino allowed as how he’d be a little late for work. We told him to take the entire morning off. (I’m kidding — he has several days of paid time off available to him.)]

[Let us pause to remember what it was I was ostensibly talking about. Oh, right: the weather.]

Right on the heels of a couple of nights where the temperature closed in on minus 20 (F), we are just now experiencing a fine misting (as in, tiny particles, not Dorothy Parker’s “You Were Perfectly Fine”) of what is scheduled to be the start of something like 10 consecutive days of snow.

I don’t think it’s springing any time soon, but then again, I never really thought this. It was just Ben and Gilly who thought this. And maybe these optimists still lean that way, but it was Gilly who told me after we moved past baby news that we checked in with the nation’s coldest temperature last night. This has not stopped many people I have encountered out in front of the shop, often while I am shoveling snow, who also have exclaimed excitedly about how great it is that spring is on the way.

I don’t really mean to burst their bubbles, but I do, sternly reminding them that “we need the moisture” and that we are technically nowhere near spring. To a person, they have not wanted to hear this.

So it was heartening, in a dismal way, to cross paths with Svea yesterday. I’ve known Svea since long ago in grade school, where I recall a rather perverse playground game we used to play that involved running into whatever game older kids were playing for the sole purpose of disrupting it. (Who does that?)

I don’t even remember how it came up yesterday, but I said something about being surrounded by people mistaking this for spring, and it turns out, Svea is still on my side, all these decades later. “Oh no,” she immediately said, “April is when you can start thinking about it. And even then, it’s at least a month away.” There’s a woman after my own heart.

We are still getting little wispy snow, which doesn’t seem like much of a precursor of a week-plus of the stuff. But it also doesn’t strike me as much of a sign of spring. Ben and Gilly and all their kith on the street should take note.

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