Why do we characterize seasons when we know our hopes will be dashed by the weatherman every darned time? Spring is pictured with tulips and daffodils, leaves beginning to appear on the bare branches of trees, light breezes and puffy clouds. Not at my house! My tulips, all 100 bulbs that I planted that first year, poke leaves and tender stems out of the dry ground only to be battered by gale-force winds. The cute little buds dry up and never a bloom is seen. Excepting those bulbs I planted on the east side of one tree: every year, two lonely tulips, both red, bloom for a few days, then shed their petals and hope next spring is warmer.
Then arrives summer, advertised with large umbrellas, barbecue grills, boats and water skiers. I don’t know about you, but the first time I put up the umbrella over the patio table, the wind came up and tore it from the moorings. It nearly ended up on the lawn in front of the Rural Electric Cooperative offices where the aspen would have stopped it.
The nearest body of water amounting to more than my bathtub is at Home Lake Veterans’ Center and I don’t think there’ll be any water skiing there this year. Or maybe ever. Jacob and John D., my great-grandsons, did sail a battery-powered schooner out there one summer. Both ended up with a glorious case of stinging nettle and wouldn’t even go back in to fetch the boat.
I can’t say enough about winter. Literally, I just CAN’T. Anyone who’s lived here a while might point to the milder temperatures (global warming) we’ve seen, and it seems like snow, REAL SNOW, only shows up every few years, but nights between the end of August and the middle of May are between chilly and outright Arctic. I remember when we were “the coldest place in the nation”, back when I started college. Anne Akers (Sargent), a college roommate, told me you could spit and it would freeze before it hit the ground. She told the truth. Now, we compete with Phoenix.
During the later months of winter, the weather really doesn’t know which way to go: it starts to warm up, things start to turn green, then it does a reverse and “spring” flowers are either shut down or nipped in the bud for the year. The City of Monte Vista starts up the sprinkler systems in the parks and icicles bloom on the trees and fences.
Fall is probably the prettiest season in the Valley, when we have one. When it came early and lasted long, we used to refer to it as “Indian Summer” and they were glorious. The trees turned slowly, nights were crisp but not cold. If anything, only a light sweater was needed to stand out on Main St. in Alamosa to watch the schools’ Homecoming parades with bands from every school district. Real Americana! It’s still my favorite season, one that you can literally “smell in the air.” Or maybe that’s the fresh-turned soil from digging up potatoes. Speaking of smell, remember when farmers used to grow sugar beets here? Even crops change. We grow tilapia and alligators instead.
One of my minister friend’s favorite sayings, “It came to pass” seemed appropriate as a title for today’s column: after all, these seasons come, and they pass in turn. Pretty much everything in life “comes to pass”, including my tulips.