In the spring, when the weather in southwestern Colorado flips between winter and summer, often in the same hour, it can be hard to stay focused. Should we bike or ski? Spring clean or hunker down with that classic we’ve wanted to read for years?
In Telluride, we have a name for it: off-season. It’s a time when many of us flee. We go to Hawaii. Mexico. Costa Rica. To the deserts of Utah and Arizona. We need warmer weather, we say. We need to thaw out from the cold. But really, more than anything, we need to move. The days are longer, growing by the day. We feel that growth in our minds, our hearts. Some part of the world feels more possible, even if we don’t yet know what it is. The long pause that was winter is over.
We take stock of our bodies, our town. The ski season left many of us battered and bruised. We broke bones and tore ligaments. And sadly, we lost a few good friends. In that way, we are ready to be done with winter. To move on from our capricious and cruel snow pack. To leave risk behind.
But snow, just like everything we truly love, takes as much as it gives. We would never trade our children for the heartbreak they give us. The joy, we know, is soon to follow. Climbing peaks in the summer is the same. We risk lightning and rock fall, knowing that the days we spend in the hills are the days we feel most alive. And that is worth almost anything.
When we return from our travels near and far, this winter chapter will have closed. The snow will continue to fall, it always does. The expression I grew up hearing in Baltimore—“it’ll be a snowy day in July, before that happens”—holds no credence here.
Yet, something in us all will have shifted. The trees will brim with green. The yellow and white petals of the crocuses will peek out of the snow. Spring will have bloomed.