Life is full of rhythm. Just look at what people in the eastern United States can expect this spring. Every 17 years, a swarm of cicadas, giant flying bugs with red eyes, hatch from their underground nests. This is the year to expect billions of these loud creatures to wake up and mate. It’s their rhythm and is pretty wild to witness.
Humans too are creatures of rhythm. Most of us wake, eat, work, play, sleep and do it again every 24 hours or so. Kids go to school nine months of the year and hang out at Long Lake for the other three months. We have four main seasons in this high mountain village. Ski season and summer are the busiest. The fall shoulder-season prepares us for skiing. The spring off-season is a reward for a long winter. That is where we are now.
So it is April in a muddy Rocky Mountain ski town. One minute it could be sunny and warm, the next minute it could be dumping. It’s a quiet time of year here in the valley and a time to treasure.
I recall that on the last weekend of the ski season, pretty much every working stiff (myself included) was literally counting down the minutes until the lifts stopped turning. Of course, two days later we ran into one of the biggest powder days of the year.
But off-season is the time to refresh. Don’t fight it. Fall into the rhythm. Sleep later. Take a longer walk. Stop at the post office and chat with someone you usually only have time to say “hi” to during the busy seasons. See what the attraction is of a bench on the sunny side of the street in the late afternoon sun.
Soon enough the valley will be filled with people looking to escape the heat of Texas. Soon enough the valleys will open up and the trails will all dry out. Soon enough, the green of summer will dominate the white of the peaks. Hartman Rocks is already welcoming bikers and hikers. Go get dusty. It is our time.
And for the people that left last week to go to the desert or the beach, congrats. It seems like it was an opportune time to have flown the coop. We are at the beach with people from Colorado and Montana who are all pretty happy to be here. And while we need and want the moisture, it doesn’t come without some pain. Snowing sideways in April or May is rough on anyone. It won’t refill the reservoirs right away, but it will help us all this summer.
Now a word of awareness. Despite some April precipitation, the water situation looks dire for the coming summer. Have you been by Blue Mesa lately? It is more river than reservoir. It could be another tinder-dry summer where caution is the name of the game to avoid wildfires and fireworks.
Anyway, the time is now for those who live here to take advantage of what’s out there. You probably don’t have to work a double unless you count the chance to ski and bike in the same day. April off-season is part of the beat of a Colorado ski town. Find your rhythm. Go with the flow. Breathe. It will help prepare you for the coming busyness of the summer.

 —Mark Reaman

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