Monday, March 21, 2011

signs of spring

It's a perfect spring day
with conditions we all wait for.
I remove the poagies from my handlebar.
Won't need the extra warmth today
don't need the thermometer dangling
by a cord.

A balmy day, though still not above freezing
No heavy tights
no extra fleece socks
light gloves.
We ride; the sun breaks through.

We wait for these days
the magical conditions and temperatures.
Spring conditions
when the snow is fresh
and the air warm.
The conditions just before it all starts to go.

The conditions that draw people out to the trails
Into the woods and onto the mountain slopes;
that cause them to share a smile and a greeting
instead of ducking their heads, turtle-like
deeper into their collar for warmth.

The conditions that make us think
This might be the last great day
and we ride or ski or hike like it is.
The last great day of the season
or maybe even our lives.

And in the high country yesterday
A body was uncovered
from more than a dozen feet of snow
compacted like concrete
under the power of a spring avalanche.

Before the slide
he had a smile on his face
Looking beyond the camera.
The photo looked at me from the newspaper today.
On the side of a mountain
more mountains behind him
before the moment of bliss gave way
Turned him over and under the crushing mass.

He'd done everything right
beacon, shovel, testing, checking
Cautious, his friend telling.
His friend lucky to have swum through it
Climbed from a premature tomb
to be crushed by sadness.

And it's another perfect spring day
with conditions for which we all wait.
Yet they are fleeting
as the moment of a flower's perfection.
We take it, breathe in
then watch as it melts away.

(photo from the archives: 4/23/2010)

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