No surprise there. But being away for two years has only sharpened the intensity of my love for this great state. I love the mountains, the people, the sports teams, the weather, and so much more.
So many things to love. But today let me focus on the weather. Start with the seasons: four distinct ones, but each varied enough that you don't get drubbed by monotony for months on end.
A brief tour:
- Summer: gorgeous blue skies, hot enough to make the pool inviting, but always cooling off in the evenings. The cool shadows of the mountains are only minutes away. Plus, you can count of raucous afternoon thunderstorms to tamper down the heat. There's camping, hiking, climbing, rafting, biking: a true outdoor paradise. I think summer is my favorite season here . . .
- Fall: especially this fall, we have had a nearly unbroken string of perfect autumn weather for two and a half months. Crisp, frosty mornings turning into bright sunny days. Sure, there's an occasional snowstorm in October, but then the next day the weather is back to sublime. Throw in the golden aspens, the football afternoons, the marshmallow roasts. I've changed my mind. Fall is my favorite season.
- Winter: when snow dusts the peaks of the Front Range, you know that winter is approaching, and that means one thing: ski season! As the tag line for the Colorado Ski Pass says: "It's why you live here." Bright, cold mornings on the slopes with fresh, uncarved powder stretching in front of you, snow caked on the branches of the pine trees, what could be better? Maybe a warm cup of hot chocolate (for only $6.50!) when you get back to the lodge. And even if you don't like the cold, you don't need to be disturbed by this season, as Denver weather throws in several stretches of thaws to break up the winter. It may snow two feet on a Thursday and then be sunny and sixty degrees by Saturday--in the middle of January. (This is in direct contrast to Wyoming, where about now the winter freeze sinks over the town, and snow that falls in early December doesn't melt until March. I think we found some perfectly preserved mammoth carcasses in our alley one year.) But I digress: winter in Colorado means skiing, sledding, snowmen, with enough variation and sunlight so that the cold doesn't wear out its welcome. Maybe this is actually my favorite . . .
- Spring: just about the time you realized that you've skied enough for one year, late March and early April rolls around. Denver will get some heavy snows in that time, but the grass starts greening, the trees start budding, and the brownness of winter gets chased quickly away by warm sunshine. The mountains come back to life as the rains shower gently and the snows melt. You plant your garden, pull out the lawn mower, and plan with intense anticipation all of your upcoming summer adventures. Spring brings the renewal of life and hope. I'd have a hard time saying this wasn't my favorite.
Does everybody feel this way about their home state? Is it because in my impressionable youth the weather patterns and changing seasons were imprinted upon me, and thus they resonate so deeply in me now? I don't think so, because if that were true I'd still feel yearning for Missouri's 98% humidity.
I think it's more likely that we are just blessed to live in one of the greatest weather spots on earth. Those of us who live here (and especially those of us who have returned) know it.