And Now For Something Completely Different

2007-04-24 07:25:10.000 – Jon Cotton,  Observer

Spring on the Range

The summit is not what it used to be. Not like the olden days of last week when snow would blow through the very crevices of the foundation and pile so high it would bury a doorway. Back in the day when ice was so thick it could bend steel mounting bars. Why I hear the winds would knock a man flat just fer step’n outside with the wrong colored hat on. I hear tell of a Ryan Knapp feller that had to walk uphill both ways to collect a precipertation can. Yupperee, them’s tales of a winter that might just be coming to an end.

Yesterday was a summer’s day by all but a calendar’s marking. Everything from haze limiting our visibility to a low point of 20 miles to the types of clouds sailing the sky. We set a new daily record high of 50 degrees, besting 2001 by a single degree. Kyle, Alan and Mike shoveled the front entrance, the tower, and the drainage around the tower base. I shoveled the deck level. Melting has done a number on the snowpack. It rained for a few hours last night and a warm fog no doubt stripped away its share of snow. As I peek out into the fog shrouded dawn, I’m shocked at the amount of bare rock laying about on the sedge. Last week just doesn’t seem like the last week anymore.

Seasons are like a good cheddar – they need time and transition. The daily average temperatures in our almanac step up a degree every few days. Every night I pencil up another record sheet. It remains current for 24 hours then it files away into the historical past. 75 years plus 1 day. One day plus a couple more sunshine minutes. Length of Day plus just a little more. One morning you find the sun rising in a different part of the sky and that is surprising no matter that you watch it everyday. Or perhaps because of exactly that. Then you need to mow the lawn but the engine won’t start after resting all winter in the shed. It’s disappointing because you swear you just spent a few hundred on a brand new mower last summer. The don’t-stick-your-foot-under-the-blade-deck sticker hasn’t even faded white yet. And why are there two other mowers further back in the garage? One of them must work$!@ Wait. This place doesn’t even have a lawn. So how is it that seven days ago we were a polar palace and yesterday I gazed across sedge and basked on the cement without hat or gloves?

Sure, three weeks ago there was little snow cover on the range but it was not a defining moment. It merely showed a glimpse to the future. Everything will melt and blooming diapensia will bring a different white to the tundra. There is still time. Sharp becomes extra sharp. Seven days ago I didn’t think there was anything but winter’s fury. Three days ago we were still pushing around piles of glaze ice. It appears that a season can change in a single day. Like the old timer, I knew in my bones that yesterday was a defining moment. It is spring. Welcome.

Perhaps some seasons change by relaxing gradually into the next. Other seasons jump with glee passing the baton and aiming for speed. This spring entered with a twist. The unexpected and uncontrolled conditions are what turn an extra sharp into a Hunter’s Seriously Sharp.

(Disclaimer: That was a New England-centric reference, probably obscure. I recommend a tour of the Cabot Creamery. It’s a blast, good for family and conveniently just north of Vermont Rt 2.)

 

Jon Cotton,  Observer

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