" … salvation always on the wing."

I dreaded the coming of Autumn and the demise of our languid summer. I imagined, as I always imagine each end of September, that the snows would shortly start flying and The Muse and I would be sequestered beneath a snowbank until Spring, but the seasons don't work like that here. Forgive me for forgetting, but in Colorado, Autumn and Winter features more Spring-like weather than bitter cold. Sure, the weather here can turn on much less than a dime. Temperatures comfortably drop forty of fifty degrees in an hour or two, but not every day, not even every week. The weather turns both downward and upward, some dreary days melting into warm sunshine and the sound of moisture moving into the earth. Warm enough to paint outside. Warm enough to forget even a jacket as I step outside. Some plants dry to desiccated stalks but others seem nearly impervious to frost and seem to revitalize each time the warm sun reappears, and it seems to reappear a lot here.

These Autumn and Winter Springs seem capricious, and nobody gets their hopes up for a solid week of reprieve, but a day or two, sprinkled here and there throughout the dismal seasons seem adequate to recoup flagging spirits.
The sun shines hot through the guest bedroom window, solar convection producing seventy or eighty degrees where Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat dozes on the bed. It might only be fifty or so degrees outside, but it feels like May inside. I turn off the heat, figuring I won't really need it until the sun goes down. The shady backyard still jealously holds the remnants of the last sideways snowstorm, but the road out front was bare and dry the very next day. The weather report expects more snow by Friday.

I suspect the winds perform this magic. The winds hardly rest here along this mid-continent latitude, shoving moisture down from Washington State or nudging some temporary high up from the Sonoran desert. Natives of each part of the United States explain that if you don't like the current weather, just wait a minute, but Colorado along the Front Range, delivers on that promise. Other regions find themselves immersed in freezing fog for much of the end of every year and the beginning of the next, and Colorado sees freezing fog, too, but in smaller and shorter-lived doses. A day or two with our heads in the clouds rewards us with a week in binding sunshine. The snow blows through but rarely lingers. A shocking freeze might leave the backyard solid, but the front will shortly thaw. Variety seems the spice of life here.

Every year I find my worst fears rebuffed. I spend a sold two transaction weeks convincing myself I'm doomed before some respite blesses me. I want to be angry at the inexorable passage of time, and its bull-headed indifference to my personal preferences, but the grudge won't stick here. Just when I'm about at the end of my rope, a fresh length appears, too long to hang myself from but too short to tie any steadfast knot. A lenticular cloud formed along the whole hundred plus miles of the Front Range yesterday, cooling my plans to paint outside. Today, the cloud cover lifted, replaced by gusty sun. I hosed off the driveway, prizing out a few weed roots from the cracks. I rewound the hose, careful to separate it from the faucet and thoroughly drain it dry. The sky suggests another wave of snow tomorrow or the next day, or certainly the day after that, followed by a solid week of single digit cold. I'm confident, though, that another Spring or two will manage to come through before the end of this season, salvation always on the wing.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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