April 7, 2011


Where I live people focus kind of obsessively on weather. It is practically a sport in itself, especially in winter. Will it snow? When? How much? For how long? What kind of snow? Is it light and fluffy pow-pow, or slushy, heavy cement that's a bitch to shovel? Are the ski resort's accumulation reports true, or are they exaggerating? These are the topics that bond the locals in my town, over and over, at the post office, the grocery store, the bus stop.

From November through February or so, I am right there, comparing thermometer readings and secretly kind of proud of the four-foot drifts in my front yard. Our long mountain winters make us feel special and tough - exotic, even. We sit in our all-wheel drive cars, bundled up in our puffy coats, and shake our heads when we hear about the cities that shut down over a measly couple inches of snow. We've collected over 400 inches this year, and our kids haven't gotten so much as a day off school. We don't even think about gardening until mid-June.

This time of year, though, some of us start thinking, fuck special. Although there are plenty of people who are all gleeful about snow straight through until it's full on mountain biking season, there are just as many of us who, by April, have a hard time cracking a smile in response to a neighbor's cheerful  "Happy spring!" and surreptitiously kick the stupid snow shovel when passing it (what. it was in the way). Then we go down a few thousand feet in elevation to run errands or attend our kid's soccer game, and are startled by the sight of green grass and people wearing flip flops. And damn, it's ... really nice. We start to remember how lovely last summer was, how glorious to run on trails outside in shorts instead of fleece and gloves and earwarmers. We start feeling a little left out, a tiny bit bitter, and pretty soon we're all like OMG I WANT TO LIVE DOWN HERE WHERE IT IS SO WARM AND DRY AND BEAUTIFUL.

I'm trying harder to just ride it out this year. My husband, who grew up here in the mountains, is fond of reminding me that we chose to live here and you can't control the weather, so there's no point in complaining about it. And aside from expressing sheer disbelief at the volume and consistency of this year's snowfall (which, to be fair, has been mind-boggling and record-breaking), I really have tried to be more accepting and keep my mouth shut.

But after a truly schizo weekend of Colorado weather (snow on Friday, then 85 degrees in Denver on Saturday, then a FOOT of snow and gale force wind back home on Sunday) I was kind of looking forward to my quick business trip to Washington, DC this week. It's cherry blossom season there, and, well, I've been feeling like wearing a skirt. Without tights and boots and a down jacket.

It was 80 degrees when we arrived. Sigh. Just lovely.

But the next day? 40 degrees. Rainy. Windy. Turned my umbrella inside out and soaked my laptop bag.

I'm glad to be home.

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