While it is easy to love each of the four seasons, picking a favorite is more difficult. In lieu of choosing a favorite, as fall days become noticeably shorter and the first snows begin to linger in the high county, I become consumed with excitement in anticipation of winter.
Short days, cold temperatures, snowy roads, storms. The same qualities that make winter difficult are also the qualities that make winter so special. Short days, cold temperatures, and storms provide the ingredients to create a medium I love to interact with; water in it's solid form. The sensation of floating down a hillside on skis or the sound of an ice tool finding secure purchase have filled my dreams more than once.
Summer slopes covered in a nightmare of scree and forests with a tangled mess of brush become glistening playgrounds for those on skis.
Skill, daring, crampons, and ice tools allow passage up walls that normally flow with water, and will again come spring.
|Thanks to Travis for this one|
Crawling out of a warm bed, brewing coffee, and driving in the predawn hours before the plows have cleared snowy roadways is a necessary part of the adventure. Watching the sun rising on the San Juan mountains makes each drive worthwhile. Knowing that a blanket of snow covered with ski tracks or a frozen waterfall will eventually melt, leaving no sign of our being there, gives days spent out with friends deeper meaning.
Winter gives us an excuse to bring nature indoors.
Winter is an excuse to sit by a fire while watching the snow fall and checking avalanche forecasts or sitting in a hot springs until everything is wrinkled except your frozen hair. Or a reason to take a drive and look at Christmas lights.
|Main St, Grand Junction|
Above all, because of it's challenges and fleeting frozen treasure, I think the winter wanderland offers a reminder to enjoy what is there. Before it melts away.
|Snow angel in Grandma's memory|