That's the snowy scene in Colorado described by my good friend B. Several inches covering the meadow, more in the mountains. They're proper mountains too, large and intriguing. The sort of vista that begs exploration. Just looking at the photo sends a wintry chill through me. I can imagine the crisp air, how the warmth of sun on bare skin contrasts with bitter cold in the breezy shadows. And then there is the swish of sleigh runners.....enough! Stop, or I shall become nostalgic for my erstwhile life amidst other mountains.
My snowfall was less. Much less. Here's what remained by mid-afternoon.
It was a cold day even without snow. I parked at the top of a hill for a ride that loops down into the valley, through the woods and back through a pretty valley. The parking areas are located at the top because it's the most scenic spot. The view is lovely, but scenery doesn't keep the traveller warm. The wind cut into several layers of clothes. But, having lived in a land with bitterly cold winters, I know how to dress warmly. I regretted not being able to find my gloves, then discovered them in the pockets of my fleece vest. Right where I left them when I rode from this spot last winter. Every ride on this hill seems fated to be windy. It's a bleak place. No wonder the nearest village lies far below, deep within a sheltering valley. It wouldn't be much fun living up here.
Cold days are quiet. Only a handful of vehicles were parked, mostly in the service of a few lucky dogs brought up there to run. It's a great place for dogs. Despite the wind Brena wasn't unduly energetic. On the very crest of the ridge, she stood nicely for me to get on. Having grown up in high and windy places, there was little to make her excited. Just some lush grass to lunge at. The mare has her priorities right.
Chill wind rushed through bare beech woods, beautiful and inhospitable. How nice it was to be there, and how reassuring to imagine a warm home. I love the authenticity of these raw days, when it's just not possible to pretend that nature is smiling upon us. No, she is real and powerful, challenging, energising. I emerge from rides like this stronger and more confident. I dream too. Of building a hut by a meadow in the valley, storing firewood, and spending winter between vigorous outdoor work and comfortable fireside time. Of journeys, and of rest. Solitude, then cheery welcome. How the landscape stimulates imagination.....even if I have to go back to work on Monday!