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June means the beginning of the tourist season, of course, but it’s also the traditional time for graduations and weddings.
This year we have a triple dose, with a graduation, (our younger son, from CU) a wedding (our older son, in Tennessee) and the tourists. So it’s also a time for us to think a bit about where we’ve been and where we’re going.
June is also the time when spring finally reaches our altitude. In Boulder the roses are coming up and the trees have all their leaves and the grass is green and the snow is long gone. But up here were just beginning to see the signs of new growth and every time we go down below we’re reminded of the brevity of our grow¬ing season.
We lived in California for a time, and it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between winter and summer. When we lived on Guam, it was impossible. Here, though, you can watch the sun march along the moun¬tains, and the advance and retreat of the high snow banks, the flow of the streams, the blossom¬ing of the flowers and the growth of the trees. No matter how long you’ve lived here or how many summers you’ve spent here, it’s never quite the same. Still, you can find a sense of continuity many of us find comforting; places you walk, trees and rocks and views that seem to belong to us.
For about 30 years we had a big stump in the shape of a horse with our hand lettered sign on it next to a gate at the en¬trance to our place. They’ve been gone for 40 years, but when I walk past the spot, I still see them. They’ll be there until I die, and then no one will know or care they were ever there.
Sometimes, just walking around, you find artifacts from long ago; bottles, nails, pieces of roofing. When we dug a hole for the satellite dish we turned up an old saw blade buried two feet down and we have no idea how it got there. It’s more than just garbage. It had a meaning to somebody, and a purpose. Years from now some¬body is going to find things I dropped and wonder who I was and what I was doing when I was so careless.
It’s fun to be a part of this process of growth and change; life and death. Moments like the beginning of the season and graduations and weddings remind us of our part in the process and that there’s more to it than just repairing the screens and scrubbing the floors, washing the win-dows and turning on the water. When I hang up the hummingbird feeders I can’t help thinking about all those who hung them up before I was here and will be hanging them up long after I’m gone.
Sometimes I forget why this place is so popular with tourists, especially in June. But when I take a minute to look at that glorious sky above our mountains and the pasque flowers pushing up through the winter brown, I remember.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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