Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There is a green that is greener than green, and that green is yellow.

About three weeks ago, around the first of June, in one day we watched the pasture turn green. There were still patches of snow, but the sun was (finally!) warm, and over the course of just a few hours, green stuff sprang to life amid the brown and gray straw of the dead grasses and weeds. In the days that followed, the pasture just got greener, until you didn't think the color could possibly become more saturated.

Then the dandelions started to bloom. Just when you didn't think it could get any more green, the bright yellow deepened the color. Right now, the pasture looks like God threw a staggering quantity of gold dust onto a carpet of emeralds.

The aspens also have leafed out. They bring their own quality of green to the mix. They start out almost yellow when the leaf buds burst open, but as they drink in the sunshine, their color darkens. Years ago, I went on a backpacking trip down in the San Juans in late June, and we walked through a spectacular aspen forest that reminded me of JRR Tolkein's description of elven woods in The Lord of the Rings.

Even the willows have given up their early-spring orange hope. And as the sun goes down, the manes and tails of the horses grazing down there are back-lit and seem to be made of silver.

Lordy! Living up here is turning me into a romantic. Wordsworth would have loved it up here; so would his wife, Dorothy. We don't have the drop-dead views of the Continental Divide and the Indian Peaks (you have to walk to the other side of the pasture to enjoy that spectacular view), but Sheep Mountain to the west, while less dramatic, is no less beautiful. We are learning to love the shadows and highlights the sun makes in its various declivities.

To the end of my days, I will always associate the color green with quiet. Not necessarily silence, mind you. Right now, between the wind (more that a Wordsworthian "gentle breeze", the ceaseless buzz of the hummingbirds, and the swallows quarreling and copulating under the eves, the place is hardly silent. But it's still quiet with the best sort of quiet.

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