Guest Blogger: Linda Longacre
I love this time of year. It is so full of delightful surprises. Think back just a few weeks, when that morning in late August we woke up to something different. Indistinguishable at first, but then we realized that the air had changed. It had a new feeling, like a promise of something special to come. Then gently, over the next few weeks, the promise started unfolding. Our nights became a little cooler, the mornings more clear and crisp, the days delightfully warm and balmy, almost dreamlike. The flowers started outdoing themselves with a blazing of color that they hadn’t yet achieved all summer.
It has been a time of buzzing insects, busy getting the most out of the pollens before the winter puts the plants to sleep. There are long, slanting rays of sunshine in the afternoons, giving in reluctantly to the cooler, crispier evenings. The night sky seems clearer, and more stars seem visible. And then, it happened. That first definition of what was ahead. The morning peaks were covered in a new blanket of snow. Now everyone starts scurrying, animals and humans alike. It’s time to get in the winter supplies, do the last repairs to stairs and decks, deliver wood for the many fireplaces that will give their comforting warmth in the cold mornings ahead. Amidst all the hurried preparations, a new surprise greets us. Glorious colors unfold as the aspens start to turn. This year, especially, with so many of the pine forest lost to beetle kill, the aspen colors seem particularly vibrant. We stop during the busy days and look around us at the panorama of the beauty we live in, and drink in the colors. These moments will sustain us during the long weeks of winter white that are coming.
And what do we do during this time of preparation? The snow plowing equipment is all given a final check for repairs or maintenance. The salt is delivered and the salter is mounted on the truck. The skid steers are sporting their new snow tires. The snow plows are mounted and ready. We watch the weather reports more closely. Our crew is alert on standby ready to go and waiting for their first call. And then we wait with anticipation for those first snowflakes that usher in the new winter season ahead. And this morning, here they are!