Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stutter Start

Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina

Winter started with a stutter. We were fortunate enough to be out scrambling up a rocky ridge when the first snowflakes of the season began to flutter down, sticking to us, to dogs, to the ground, before fading again. Crystal ice pioneers of an advancing front.

On desert ridges the next afternoon, the scene was transformed to winter white. Wet snow was piled on everything. Already starting to melt off of sunny-side cliff tops. To melt into the warm ground. The dogs charged through the changed landscape with with dogged enthusiasm.

Another day, another climactic change. By noon the following day the snow was gone. Except in secret spots, deeply in hidden shadows. We trod over moist ground where small plants were already preparing buds for the distant springtime. Where bushes were shedding their colored leaves, ready to stand bare against the coming cold.

We clambered upward where red and white banded stone rose toward the grey sky. Colors swelled from the moistness. The view drew us onward. Upward. To a tabletop of stone. Dogs dangled near the edges. Sandstone narrowed to a causeway. A constriction that drew us onward to an island of stone and scrub above the surrounding scrubland. Above the distant river. Above our expectations.

We gathered breaths of fresh, moist air. Then set them free again, to vanish into the wide sky. Knowing. Yet not knowing. That the door of winter would soon slam hard. That snow would soon fall and persist. That cold would lock onto our valley. That this season would change. Would leave us. With nothing. But new opportunities to explore.

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