Spring Sunday: When A Little Snow Changes A Whole Lot

Anyone who has lived in the mountains will caution you against making plans. The weather can change at any moment. So what if it’s May, and it hasn’t really snowed in close to 3 months? It’s high time for a good snow storm!

IMG_1977Still, even though I know this about the mountains, I made plans. Good ones. Plans I wanted to stick to. After all, they weren’t overly ambitious. It wasn’t like I was planning an outdoor wedding. All I wanted to do was go backpacking in Utah with my family.

Last weekend, when it snowed in Telluride and poured in the desert, I amended plans. I was willing then to be flexible. No biggie that it was Mother’s Day and that my birthday was coming up. We went to the Durango Rec Center. The kids had fun, so we had fun. We even capped off the day with beers at an awesome brewery.

But when it started snowing this weekend, I wasn’t feeling so gracious about changing things up. I had just spent about 20 hours straight on the computer revising a story for graduate school. I needed to spend time with my family outside. Needed to breathe the dry desert air. Needed to run my hands along the layers of sandstone, whispering their names like a prayer as I descended: Navajo, Kayenta, Wingate, Chinle… . Yet, the forecast was even worse than the previous weekend. Not only was there a 60% chance of rain, it was calling for thunderstorms. To top it off, we’d have to drive through the thick, wet, snow to get there.

Everyone woke up grouchy on Saturday morning. It’s never fun to revise plans but it’s even worse when half of the party is still holding onto the plans: Andy and I were determined that we would still somehow go to the desert, even though Telluride’s streets were now thickly layered with new snow, as if some grand baker had snuck in over night and frosted the excessively large cake of Telluride.

Our children had already let go of Utah. One wanted to go to a birthday party. Another wanted to go on a playdate. Both wanted to go watch some gymnastics’ recital. “No camping, no camping,” they chanted.

I looked over at Andy. The week had been long. Full of complications at work and at home. I knew, like me, he needed some space. Some time outside. I could see him tamping down the explosion that was close to boiling out of the top of his head. Luckily, just then two friends (otherwise known as gods) texted: “Hey, can we take your children to the gymnastics’ thing? Then maybe have them over for a playdate before the birthday party?”

Ding. The day was saved. Our children were soon ushered out to enjoy the activities they wanted to do. And Andy and I bundled up to go hike Bear Creek.

IMG_1980As we started up the snow-laden trail, I could tell he was still holding on to what could have been. It can be a little tricky, after all, to shift your body to enjoying snow in the mountains when you’ve been dreaming of sun in the desert. We reached the first clearing. There in the woods, amidst the swirling snow, we saw a couple hanging something in a tree. As we approached, we noticed rose petals scattered on the forest floor and saw that they were hanging a card in a tree.

“It’s for our friends,” they explained, a little chagrined. “He wants to propose to her at the falls and wanted us to leave a little trail of clues. He wanted to propose at the top of Bridal Veil but since it’s snowing so hard… .” We cheered them on. Had a good laugh about the snow. “It’ll be more magical this way anyway,” Andy said.

And with those words, all at once, it was more magical. For everyone. Encountering the promise of love amidst such a storm opened up our own hearts to the storm. We started noticing how quiet it was, how enjoyable it was really to be out amidst such beauty. We started talking, processing the week together. We delighted in the view of the falls shrouded in fog. And after running down from the top, we delighted in the warm bowls of soup we dove into in town.

The day was saved. It was perhaps more spectacular than it would have been if we had raced to the desert. We just needed to open up our hearts to the possibility of change. To snow. To the goodness in friends. To a little bit of magic.

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