Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I never thought I would write these words but, here goes … I miss the mud.
This is the first time that I can recall an April followed by a May where we have had a mudless mud-season. The lack of moisture in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail has meant that our roads and trails have been completely devoid of any meaningful mud. Never in my memory have my dirt driveway and my dirt roads been so firm in the springtime.
Usually I live these months in a veritable bog. I have shoes that still hold the grit and dust and dirt of mud-seasons past on their treads. The bottom of my car collects and holds tons of mud each year. Once when I took it to Denver and stopped for a car wash, the entire staff of the place came by to have a look. “Dirtiest car of the year” was the designation I received from that group. My mudroom is, in fact, a MUD room for two months each year as we use it to transition from the bog to the house.
And yet now, inexplicably, there is no mud. My car is pristine; the road is solid and even when I take my bike out for a springtime ride I don’t have to wipe it down. My dog, who is normally a cross between his customary black coat and a muddled mud color in May, looks like he is in his wearing his formal attire. Not a dollop or a shred of stinky wet mud has dropped off in the house all spring.
Now don’t get me wrong, not having to get the car cleaned and not bathing the dog on a weekly basis are good things. But it just seems like we have missed an entire season. While some folks call this the offseason, to me it has always been mud-season, due to the propensity for that sticky combination of dirt, driveway gravel and water. And to not have that at all is just a little strange.
Beyond the lack of mud, of course, are the concerns I have about what a lack of moisture means in the long term. As I look out on these sunny days we are having, with the blue skies and just a few big puffy clouds rolling through, it sure looks beautiful. But the scrub oaks are a little thirsty and crunchy and the greens, while gorgeous, look a little less vibrant than in years past. And most of all, the wildflowers don’t seem to be taking hold. Everything looks a little less…nourished.
I’m hoping, like I’m sure all of you are, that the projections for a bone dry May and June prove to be bogus. While it’s beautiful to look at a dry day with no mud, it just seems wrong somehow. We need a storm, a system, and a change in the weather pattern to give us our greens, to help the flowers grow and, perhaps most importantly, to give us a little mud.
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