Saturday, May 11, 2013

They don't call it "mud season" for nothin'

When T.S. Eliot observed that "April is the cruelest month," it was clear that the man from Missouri who bugged out to Britain had never been to the Colorado high country in the month of May.

Since Winter Park Ski Resort closed on April 21, we have had three (count 'em) blizzards that each dropped between six and twelve inches of snow on us.

Two days later, the snow was gone, the sky blue, the sun warm, and newcomers were left shaking their heads. "What was hell was that all about?"

I hung out two loads of laundry this afternoon to dry in the wind-whipped sunshine, and I got the last sheets off the line just as a rain squall raced over Sheep Mountain like sleet-frozen Valk├┐ries in a bad production of Wagner. That rain turned into a short-lived horizontal snow squall that has since been replaced by the most marvelous warm sunshine. I'm not holding my breath that it will stick around, even until sundown. There are still some evil-looking clouds Over Yonder.

Our neighbors across the road, students at a Bible School, have had the power washer and the shop vac out all day trying to get their cars cleaned up for spring. Silly children. Even prayer isn't gonna keep the dirt roads--mud roads this time of the year--from soiling the spit-polish shine on their vehicles.

Actually, having a clean vehicle in Grand County this time of the year is a sign that "you ain't from around here." Locals keep a suspicious eye on people driving clean cars, hoping the drivers won't snap and turn homicidal when denied visions of fields of columbine waving in the breeze (that happens in July).

Last week, before we drove down to Denver for a celebration of an anniversary, I filled the gas tank and spent eleven dollars for an "ultimate" car wash at the gas station. "Why are you spending so much money?" Julie wondered.

"Well, if we're stopped for a traffic offense and CHP notices that our license plate is obscured by mud, I don't want to get shot before we can explain that we're not felons fleeing justice. Besides, we're going to Denver, and I don't want people to think ill of us because we have a dirty car."

Julie snorted. "The way you drive, it doesn't take a muddy car for you to get flipped off in Denver traffic."

"I'm out of practice driving in the city," I whined. "I couldn't help that I was looking at the snow on the Continental Divide last week and that truck had to drive into the ditch."

"Lucky the sheriff hasn't been around."

"Something to be said for a muddy license plate."

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