I grew up mostly in the midwest. First as an Iowa girl, then a brief stint way down on the Tangipahoa in Louisiana, ending up in the Windy-City area, the Chicago territory just below the Great Lake Michigan. The midwest winters over. Once the snow comes, it is often there until the bitter end, just piling up, mounding against vertical surfaces and drifting the winter months away.
But then spring arrives finally and fully and the great spring thaw comes and the snow pile next to the north side of the garage, the one that may have arrived in October and has been trying hard to melt away for 6 months, does. The annual thaw makes everything wet and it smells sweet as a summer rain for 2 weeks. Spring has a glorious scent in the midwest. It smells like baby-green leaves and wet, black soil and thick sunshine with a generous dollop of blue-and-puffy-white-clouded sky.
Colorado, a known “winter state” because of mountains and skiing, is not so predicatble. In the Denver area we can get 3 1/2 feet of snow one week and be back in shorts, tank tops and high 60’s the next. Many Christmases we are coatless and snowless and many Mays we are getting freak snow storms. Winter can meander aimlessly throughout quite a few months here, but rarely do we endure the harsh and relentless winters of the midwest. No one who doesn’t live here seems to know this however. For Denver makes the big weather news splash when we get the extreme white dumps that shut down DIA. To the casual observer, this is a scary, snowy place. But to us? It is a brief interruption to daily life, one in 10 days I can’t wear my flip flops.
I love Colorado, not least of all, for its winters.
But I miss the lovely smell of rain. Colorado rarely has that luscious essence of a cleansing rain. I crave that. I wouldn’t trade this weather to get it, but I miss it nonetheless. We are semi-arrid, so desertous the thirsty ground consumes even a full downpour quickly, denying us mere mortals the chance to fully inhale and devour the rich, earthy scent of summer showers or a spring thaw.
This morning started out gray and dark. It was cold with a dusting of snow. Bleak.
But soon the sun came out. The white flakes melted into black, wet streets. I took a walk and guess what? It smelled like rain. Yes! It was the glorious, soaked and spicy smell of precipitation. Saturated houses and landscape timbers, fully soaked yards and sidewalks glistened and sparkled, fanning fragrant redolence my way. And I? Absorbed all I could because it may be a long time before it happens again.
But I will be searching for it, the sweet scent of a good rain…Jeanie
Winter tip: Yellow tulips from Target make spring seem so near. You may quote me on that.