Quiet Desperation

Welcome to Denver — weather permitting


Phoenix, 96, and plenty of sun. Miami, 85, and partly cloudy. Denver, 42, with periods of rain mixed with snow and snow mixed with rain. Newcomers to Colorado want to know, “What’s going on?”

It’s springtime in the Rockies.

Since the first of the year, we’ve already had the Four Seasons.

It has been 80-something, setting a record. People out in shorts soaking up the sun.

Days when Harry’s ears are lifted by the wind, making him look like a different breed.

Mowers revved, lawns aerated, flower beds flower bedded.

Looking out this morning there were rabbit tracks in the snow on my front lawn. It looked like two rabbits met, dated, and attempted to add to the population.

Harry went out and returned with a white daub on his nose.

Maybe you don’t appreciate it, but I do.

Two days from now, the high in Phoenix will be 102. And again the following day. A month from now 102 will be the low for the day.

Phoenix never has rain mixed with snow.

Has Phoenix ever had snow? Yes, trace amounts.

And on January 20, 1933, and January 21 and 22, 1937, Phoenix had one inch of snow.

With the Major League Baseball season in its second month, there was overnight snow in Denver.

One day, newcomers, it will be 95. I promise. If that’s what you want, we’ll have two months just for you.

July and August will be miserable for my roommate and me. Right around the time my neighbors decide once again to blow things up it will be hot, insufferable, and summery.

The weather in metro Denver is as non-linear as my thinking. Maybe that’s why I like it.

It’s illegal to milk someone else’s cow in Texas.

In 1977, I moved from Phoenix to Denver without an overcoat, boots, or snow shovel.

Because of a childhood in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, I was familiar with winter weather.

Didn’t care for it back then. Do now.

What’s the difference? Maybe retirement, because I don’t have to get out in it.

Maybe because it slows me down, just a little. Being somewhere isn’t what it used to be. Being at home is better than ever.

When I had to drive downtown to teach, however unpleasant the rat race was, I was used to it.

Compared to other major cities at the time, Denver was still a little sleepy. Not anymore.

It’s rush hour at all hours.

Who is to blame? I am. And others like me who moved here from someplace else.

My neighbors are from California, New Mexico and Iowa.

Some of these oddly times snowfalls are heavy and overburden our trees, toppling branches. That’s not good.

Drivers, underestimating the conditions, drive as if there aren’t any. That’s not good.

But wasn’t it beautiful to see? Winter looking over its shoulder to say goodbye, like Jimmy Durante?

Durante always signed off on his radio and television programs with, “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

He didn’t explain the comment until 1966. It was a tribute to his first wife, Jean.

Mrs. Durante, he said, always loved the name of a small town they had stopped in on a cross-country road trip

Calabash, North Carolina.

The temperature in Calabash right now is 72. Cloudy with a fifty percent chance of schnozzolas.

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

Craig Marshall Smith, weather, Rockies


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