High Points: We be chillin’

Paul E. Anna
High Points
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Not sure about you, but I’m a little cold around the edges.

After a long winter that blessed us with prodigious snow and more cloudy days than sunny ones, we seem to be in a pattern where we are still a bit damp and cold.

This June, though just over a week old, feels more like May and, dare I say it, even late April. We have barely crested the 70-degree mark so far, and most days have a cool breeze attached to them.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to complain about the current state of affairs. That’s not what this column is all about. After all, it has been exceedingly beautiful with the greening of the foliage and the blossoming of the windflowers. Then there is the drama of the clouds as they ride in each afternoon and drip a few drops before the sun sets. All of this means that we will remain moist for at least a little while and protected from the ravages of a premature fire season.

But hey, we have had some significant snowfall in each of the last, by my count, nine months. I remember a late October dump — yes, just before Halloween — and Aspen Mountain got a white frosting the 1st of June. And we may not be done yet. All I’m asking for here is a few days of sunshine with just a whisper of wind to get me into the summer mood.

Of course, one of the exceptional things about living in the Rockies is that we get to experience the vicissitudes and vagaries that Mother Nature constantly throws our way. Living at altitude means that you are always in a changing climatological environment.

There are a couple of homilies that come mind. The first is the tried-and-true, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it’ll change.” Truer words have never been spoken, as we have seen it rain and hail and snow this June and then the sun come on like someone turned up a dimmer switch. It can be simply majestic as that light shines out from below the black clouds. Even if only for a moment.

My favorite old time-y story about the weather goes back to a time shortly after my arrival in the Valley. I was on a chairlift with a grizzled ski patroller who is now long gone. Making conversation, I asked him, “What’s your favorite season here?” Instantly, he replied with a degree of angst, “What do you think? I came for the winter, and I love the snow. I’m a ski patroller for Chrissakes!”

He paused for a moment and then said a little mellower. “But I love the spring when everything begins to turn green. And summers …. Summers are the best, especially with those storms where you can see it rainin’ fire in the sky.”

Yes, he stole the John Denver line. “But,” he continued in a much softer mode, “I met my wife in the golden fall, so I like that, too.”

He turned and looked me in the eye, “Those are my favorite seasons here.”

I’ve never forgotten it.

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