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There will be mud

Paul E. AnnaAspen, CO Colorado

In a season that has seen more days of snow than sun, this early spring thaw is a welcome sight. Just getting out and feeling the warmth on your skin and seeing the cobalt blue against that white snowpack has been a pleasure.But there will be mud.And lots of it. In a season with this much snow there will be nowhere for the water to go other than into the dark dirt where it will mix, match, melt and form some of the gooiest tire-sucking mud you have ever seen. It will be a mud season for the ages.While all of us have reveled in the great ski season and tabulated snowfall amounts that have broken all kinds of monthly records, it wasnt until this weeks first mini-melt that the other side of the equation came into focus. A big snow year means a big mud year, and that big mud year is right around the corner.As you may have guessed, I live on a dirt road. A long dirt road that has cost me a small fortune to keep clear this past couple of months. While I dont like writing the checks and we have had a handful of days when we couldnt get out (for the first time this century), I nonetheless love it when the snow piles up.I like looking over the fields and seeing the tiptops of the sagebrush get swallowed with each storm until there is nothing left but a smooth white sea of snow where just weeks before the thistles and sage ruled. I like to drive down my road with the snow piled window high, or even higher, as it forms little wind-whipped curls of ice on the top of the drifts.But with that, there is also the day of reckoning. Mine came this week when I came home from my run with a muddy dog and a pair of never-able-to-wear-them-again shoes. Yuk. If I leave or come home after, say, 8:30 on a sunny morning, I better be prepared for the road to have morphed from frozen dirt into slimy mud. It makes getting in or out of the car a filthy task, and my old jeans will be the principal item of my wardrobe until the slick #$^& disappears or hardens again.Not that winter is over. Not by a long shot. This little warming spell is just a temporary respite in the storms, Ullr willing. I am anticipating that March, traditionally our snowiest month, will live up to its reputation, and the record season will end with a bang rather than a whimper. And that is as it should be. I welcome a healthy dose of Pacific moisture and look forward to another pristine run with my mud-colored dog on a snow-covered road. But in the meantime, now that we have this thaw, now that the days are getting longer, now that the sun is shining brighter, I can not ignore the voice in my head that keeps telling me, over and over again There will be mud.


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