Monday, March 22, 2010


Accepting that spring has arrived is always a bit rough for me.  I love the snow so much that I get attached to it.  But every year there is a day when I acknowledge that spring is actually here, and I start loving it.  Today was that day.  I went for a hike with my nine year old daughter on what just might be my favorite mountain.  The air was fresh and clean.  We moved over deep soft-packed snow, gingerly trying to stay on top of it, and invariably punching holes in it. Carmen got stuck when she took a high route over the snow-covered roots of a huge fallen pine.  She broke through up to her chest and was held in place by the roots.  I had to pull her out.  The photo above is of our destination, a waterfall that has begun to thaw and flow.  Nothing like the raging runoff we'll experience in the coming weeks, but the falls have broken through the snow.   We'll get another couple of snow storms, no doubt--that's spring in the southern Rockies.                                        
The steady drip of melting snow, and bobcat sign, are everywhere. I'm concerned about the latter.  Just above the falls is a fawn birthing area. Some of the deer have wintered over and others will return soon to give birth.
Even in this steep, shady box canyon, the south facing upper walls are bereft of snow, and the lower walls are warming fast.    
No, Andy Goldsworthy has not been running around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  This snow spiral was created by gravity alone.  These natural sculptures occur when snow falls off a tree on a slope and rolls down, picking up more snow as it goes.  This one is old and its edges have been softened by the freeze/thaw cycle.  When new, snow spirals are often perfectly symmetrical geometric forms.   They surface in my dreams and my paintings.