5068, Spring Slips Softly Under the Blankets
Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2016
There’s still a lot of snow up high. The mountains shimmer in the dawn sun, and there are predictions for heavy snow this week all over Colorado’s central mountains.
When Kate and I climbed Flat Top Saturday a week ago, the wind drove the snow in a ground blizzard, haloing Hallett less than an hour after she got off the summit. It was too cold to take pictures on the summit, and I didn’t slip a hand out of my mitten until we were almost down to the corral. The photos took 30 seconds but it took another 40 minutes to recover the feeling in my right hand fingertips and thumb.
The work week was crazy. Every day started early. I took Kate to DIA on Monday morning, worked late, had the oil changed in the truck on Tuesday and got home late from work on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday were so tense that my back was really hinky. We spent Friday night in the hot tub, but on Saturday morning, I still couldn’t bend over to put my boots on without risking a shooting pain mid-spine.
Never mind all the work stress.
On Monday coming home from the airport, the sky was rolling heavy over the mountains and by noon they were crushed completely under the maelstrom. But Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, it was nearly 70 mid-day.
I walked the South Boulder Creek Trail on Wednesday morning while it was still dark. It was just getting light on the way back to the truck, but I could have walked past a deer and not seen it.
On Thursday morning, it was a little later and I laughed at the profusion of tiny green shoots everywhere. It was amazing. They were pushing up through the brittle tan stalks of thistles and weeds and god knows what, anxious and urgent and perfectly comfortable in the frozen air of dawn. I marveled at them. In the growing grey light, I checked the reflection of every pool for a dimple. I knew it was the wrong time of day to see a trout rise this early in the year, but spinners do occasionally fall unnoticed until some mid-sunrise light illuminates them. But nothing.
Not so the same day at dusk.
There were ducks in the picnic table pool but in the very next one, I was sure a rise caught my attention. I stood riveted, but not another came. Then just a little further along, there was an actual splash in a tiny current seam. I mean tiny, too. All the snow up high is locked in ice. Except in the pools, the creek is barely 3 feet wide and 3 inches deep in many places where it moves.
At the mouth of a small pool, there were at least 3 trout solidly rising where the gentle current lapped in, and further where up in the big meadow where the water pools and turns under a giant fallen cottonwood, there were several decent regular rises. They must be so spooky. When I got close enough to see a fish, they immediately vanished.
Just north of the old run-in shed, my favorite little run was rocking. There were at least 6 trout bumping the surface. I stood mesmerized. People blew past me on bikes, running shoes, earbuds a-pumpin’…
It was almost the same on Friday except better. In that same upper pool before the shed, I counted 8 fish rising simultaneously, with 2 and 3 rises going on all the time. The water dimpled and the rings expanded, melting and fusing into one another. It made me smile with the thrill of another spring and another trout season. Under the blanket of snow up high, and under the blanket of brittle brown stalkage here in Boulder Valley, Spring, Spring Eternal, was creeping underneath – warming all the living from their fins, toes, hooves, and paws, to their loins, to their hearts. A lover who enters the bedroom in the dark, slides north under the covers, and arrives light and on top, open mouthed, kissable, and utterly sensuous.
It was trout season that taught me to thrill at Spring and wait anxiously for its arrival. I never understood it. I loved fall, loved the essence and reduction of winter, embraced the heat and humidity of summer… But I never understood Spring until I connected the buds and insects and the waters changing form and rising themselves, rising within rising, all urgent and powerful and new and intertwined with rejuvenation and regeneration and rejubilation.
There are buds on the tree over my truck where I park at home. When I break from writing this journal entry to look out my window, the late afternoon light silhouettes the red buds on the sidewalk maples.
I roused to robin song as I lay in bed, early Saturday morning. First one I’ve heard this year.
Somewhere in Penna, there is syrup being collected and boiled.
Life is sweet.