Glowing Aspens, Snow Flurries and Hopes

Today I drove to Grand Lake in the mountains. Outside of Idaho Springs is a single sign for Hwy 40. Below the stretching droplets of a rainbow dripping into the valley was not a lepherchaun with his pot of gold. Instead we found a 15 passenger van with a tiny trailer attached. The trailer had a flat tire and waved from side to side wildly. We kept our distance, then sped up as the trailer, dragged by the massive, run down van, swerved into the slow lane. I squealed, my sensible mother honked and we rushed past the edges of Idaho Springs, underneath the rainbow, and past the exit for Hwy 40.

So, after a long climb in the poor little white car, and after soaring through the tunnel dedicated to good ol’ Ike, we descended into Dillon. Dillon has another road running through it. Hwy 9, known in town as Blue River Parkway, runs North and intersects with the highway we were meant to take. It winds through beautiful country along the river. Aspens grow in clumps among the sea foam green scrub that covers the hillsides. This year, despite the wet spring, they were yellow, gold and orange. They practically glowed in the sunlight over the frosted mountains.

In Frasier, many of the hillsides were empty or littered with fallen trunks. The forests that were still standing had streaks of grey and brown. Ed says it’s because we didn’t let the forest fires burn all those years ago when the sky turned orange and ash fell like snow. But he says there’s debate about that. If the trees had been thinned, the older ones burned and fallen, perhaps the pine beetle’s damage would have been less and he’d have moved on sooner. He’s headed for the Grand Tetons now, Ed said.

We talked about a beetle like it was a human being, thinking and rational.

But the wind picked up on the aspens on the side of the house. We walked down the steps to the long driveway that we can’t drive up in the snow without a 4wheel. The clouds were growing darker and the blue skies disappearing. We went to the side of the house, opened the trunk of the car, and began loading wood. There was more down in the brush beside the sign near the road. Ed and Sue threw logs onto the road that we stacked, first filling the trunk, then the back seat. After a time, we hugged our friends from another life and headed towards the pass.

There was snow at Berthoud, just flurries that danced in the gusting wind. I drove the switchbacks with an SUV and a semi behind me. We passed the exit for Hwy 40 in Idaho Springs, and flew out from among the mountains onto the C470 near Red Rocks and Morrison. I was here with Caitlin and Daniel just a few weeks ago. But Colorado looks different already. It’s browner, the trees are changing thanks to the cold snap last week, and blue skies were darkening with the clouds of oncoming winter.

Tonight I was in nursery again, with crying children and not much to look forward to tomorrow. But that’s okay. Because it was beautiful in the mountains today. I’m going back with Joy. I have church on Sunday. I have more work tomorrow and my bills are manageable. I have applications in the mail and I have great hope becuase He’s always providing. Joy got a job, why not me?

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