Quiet Desperation

Heaven knows that heaven snows — that’s how life in Colorado goes

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 10/23/17

A newcomer to our state said, “Why don’t you write about the first snow of the year?”

I said, “You mean the one we had in early January?”

“No, the one we just had — in October.”

“That was the first snow of the season. Not …

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Quiet Desperation

Heaven knows that heaven snows — that’s how life in Colorado goes

Posted

A newcomer to our state said, “Why don’t you write about the first snow of the year?”

I said, “You mean the one we had in early January?”

“No, the one we just had — in October.”

“That was the first snow of the season. Not the first snow of the year.”

I think the excitement of moving here from California must have gotten to her, and to her clarity. It happened to me, exactly 40 years ago.

I was fresh off the boat from Arizona, where it was 110 degrees in the shade on a cloudy day.

I was miserable in Arizona. Hot heat and I are not compadres. I think it addled me some, because when I landed at Stapleton, I looked around and said, “Am I in heaven?”

It was some 30 degrees cooler here than it was the day I left Phoenix. The rental car I climbed into wasn’t a four-wheeled inferno, like the cab I had taken to Sky Harbor Airport.

Maybe this isn’t heaven, but after spells in Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, it sure seemed like it then, and it still does.

Think about it. Other than a few blizzards in all of that time, Colorado has been on the outside of the natural disasters that have beset much of the rest of the country.

(I am excluding, by time frame, the Big Thompson Flood, as well as the Hayman Fire, which was human-caused.)

If you have been here a while, you know that we have snow in October. If you have lived here even longer, you know we have had a lot of snow in October.

Famously: On Oct. 15, 1984, over a foot of snow fell on Mile High Stadium during the Monday Night Football game between the Broncos and the Packers.

I may need correction, but I think Frank Gifford, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell called the game.

It was Cosell who, years earlier, had “put this game in perspective” when he announced during the December 8, 1980, Monday night game between the Dolphins and Patriots that John Lennon had been shot in New York City.

My then-girlfriend showed up, and I was crying.

She said, “Did your father die?”

No, but my father has died since then (2008), and so has my mother (2008), and I retired (2003) from the teaching position I flew to Denver to take.

By now, I have spent 57 percent of my life in Colorado, and that percentage will only increase. I am not going anywhere.

It’s not perfect. Drivers are terrible. But drivers are terrible everywhere.

And because of a master’s degree in art, I cannot abide the horse at the airport, or comprehend the new, giant, tubular larva and all of its tethers on Lincoln Boulevard.

Small potatoes against the local color, the local landscape, and the complete absence of a turkey drop.

There’s an annual turkey drop in Arkansas. Live turkeys are dropped from small planes at the Yellville Turkey Trot. While wild turkeys can fly, some don’t survive the fall.

It’s difficult to be objective about a state that permits something like that.

No, I’ll take ours, even though we don’t have an ocean — yet.

Colorado is 380 miles by 280 miles, and it’s heavenly. Welcome, newcomers.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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