Coming Out

The ski area closed with stacks of snow left high on the hill. The bottom devolved to a chaotic exercise in broken snow skiing, while the top remained stellar. The last two days of operation were 20-degree gifts of springtime. Digging out shorts. Finding sandals. Hanging out in the Plaza and watching great fiddle and a crowd celebrating the last of the year. Cold nights followed by warm days made all the warmer by five months of winter.

And then winter dropped in again. Cold. Rain. Sometimes a skiff of snow in the morning. Some times a few cm’s. But simply cold. Seemingly brutal cold. All of minus three or four. And one morning, we woke to a bone chilling minus nine.

And then this early May, like a flipped switch, summer arrived.

The tables appeared on Second Ave. The little Brickhouse “jail” for street-side drinkers magically arose one afternoon. A rectangle of black bars surrounding four dinky tables taking up the miserly maximum allowed--four feet or so of sidewalk across the front of the building.

The first really warm Saturday in a blatant attempt at putting off writing this piece, I wandered down Victoria Ave. A true amble. No purpose but walking down to the end and back. I ended up finding people sitting at tables in the sun and taking the same walk that I hadn’t seen since fall.

“Everyone’s gone, so now we can come out.” Said one friend, laughing, not seen for months.

Wandering into Ski Base, two people were trying on hiking books. I eavesdropped.

“Any plans?”

One, after lacing up the boots, while walking around. “If I find a pair that fits, we’re hiking up Castle Mountain this afternoon.”

The switch. No doubt. The switch.

In front of Big Bang Bagels an impromptu hound convention convened. Caroline and Gif’s Boomer, a three-month-old Bernese Mountain pup, held court gathering a six-month old cousin, a boxer, a German shorthair, another puppy that might have been a Border collie and the attention of a host of passing canines. A few owners hung out unnoticed by the gang. Gauging from the active socialization, after a winter of walks, this was the start of great summer times and conversations on the corner for the crew. Clearly, they were making up for lost time and missing smells over the winter.

Boomer wanted to play, but shied away from any of the big folks when they really jumped at him. He’ll learn. The Second Ave Dog Academy is friendly and fully open.

The dandelions are out. Lawns of dandelions. Until now left, but now just high enough that lawns are being cut for the first time. Whacking down the yellow flowers and the early blades to a summer norm. Still a little uneven. Another week and all will be fine.

Two weeks ago, leaves were a rarity. Today, you can almost watch the leaves burst. The sun bringing them out in a perceptible spread across the recently bare branches. I saw a pair of ornamental cherry trees in full bloom. The orchards across the Creston valley must have ‘gone wild’ by now.

These days Socks, my cat, would rather lie in the sun outside than on the couch. There’s no fire in the fireplace. Her black coat is the perfect heat sink for these spring days. She cries to be let out early each morning and stays until after dark.

In avoiding writing this piece, I walked the five blocks downtown and back home again. Without pushing or really stalling, I had a cup of coffee, a bagel, another cup of coffee and it took just over two hours. I think town has come out.

And I’d better get back to work. Maybe outside in the sun like Socks.


It’s summer.