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The Snow Pool
The election is over and the proposed sewage system lost. Who would have thought we’d have a recount of 71 votes? We all thought it would be close, but few thought it would be a matter of a single vote. Who says your vote doesn’t count?
The elections in Colorado in many ways reflected the mood of the country. School board members elected generally ran on “back to basics” platform. City council members who ran on “managed growth” platforms were most often elected. Boulder’s Open Space tax passed, as did an $89 million school bond issue. Those items reflected the “managed growth” issue, as well as the improved economy, which is drawing more people and requiring more school rooms, particularly in the eastern part of the county.
But for the moment we seem to be more interested in Thanksgiving and Christmas, and on December 21 the sun will begin its long march to the north, and we will be bracing ourselves for winter. At least the movement of the sun is utterly predictable. The long range forecast has been for lower than normal temperatures and higher than normal precipitation.
It was a strange weather year in our mountains. The growing season was longer than usual, and we had more snow; there was still some snow from last year when the first snows of winter turned Mt. Meeker white. We had fewer thunderstorms, but more rain.
We are understandably sensitive to the rhythms of the weather and our year is governed by what we expect. For the most part those expectations center around holidays: Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The ebb and flow of residents, both permanent and part-time, can be charted by those days and we have firm expectations about what kind of weather typifies each of them. When our expectations aren’t met it makes us uncomfortable.
Keith Dever’s snow pool has been a fixture in the valley for a long time. The price went up this year, to two dollars per guess. Just in case you don’t know about it, you pay your two dollars and write on a slip of paper the date when you think the last snow visible to the naked eye will disappear from the slopes of Mt. Meeker. It can and has varied wildly, from early summer to not at all, but the usual is late August to mid-October. There are usually several winners who share the same date. It’s a little like the lottery, but at least there’s a tiny bit of skill involved. This year it was very close. There was just a little left when the first heavy snows appeared, but there it was, and there it stayed. That’s unusual. It’s happened only a few times in the last 40 years.
I was one of those who guessed correctly, but it doesn’t make me all that happy. I was betting that the rhythm of the weather would be broken, and when it was I was more worried about what it means than happy about winning a share of the pool. Does this mean the weather is changing? Or is this just another rarity? I like predictability, and even though I predicted it, I think I’d have been happier if I had lost.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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