view from central park

Snow in May? Welcome to Denver


By the time you read this, the sun will be shining again, spring will have returned, and last week’s record snowfall in Denver will be a distant memory. I am tickled pink with the charming snow that fell on Denver on May 21 —not just a faint dusting, but a crest of milk-white sparkling snow over all the spring blooms.

I do feel for all of the gardeners out there whose plants have been affected. And all those snapped tree branches; my parents sustained a few in their backyard! But seeing as I am only visiting Denver, and am currently plant-less and garden-less, I couldn’t help but fall under the magic spell of this record spring snow.

Snow always makes everything more beautiful. The quiet landscape is enchanting as the snowflakes gently fall, spreading inner warmth and joy. The pale pink cherry blossoms and yellow-branched forsythia, now crested with snow, are even more illuminated. It seems like nature is putting on a beautiful show.

For me, snowfall brings with it an ebb and flow, a push and pull of indoors-outdoors. It is always an invitation to come outside, and at the same time, it brings with it the joy of watching the snowfall through a window pane as you stay cozy inside.

The surprise of it is fun, too. In our developed age, we might have perfected predicting the weather, but we still have absolutely no control over it, a humble reminder that there are some things in this world that will always be beyond our control. As much as the science of snow can be known, there is always mystery about weather’s arrival. Especially so with snow, which always feels like a playful gift from the Heavens. Just when we think it’s spring and the snow season is over, it comes along and says, “Hello again! Not so fast! Just because it’s days to summer break doesn’t mean I can’t surprise you with one more modest snowfall.”

We like to think we control things, and for the most part we have an ordered world. Thankfully, we in Colorado do have the order and joy of the four seasons. But when a surprise snowfall like this comes along, it’s a reminder just how unpredictable things can be. After all, we are not in control of things, as much as we like to think we are.

As long as there are no volatile storms, I’ll take this gently beautiful, blanketing, snowy reminder of our surrender to the mysteries beyond ourselves.

I have my pictures that record the earliest times snow has fallen. A few years ago, in the first week of October, my nephew captured one of me holding the four species — myrtle, willow, a ripened date palm frond and a bright yellow etrog — all crested by snow. It was a snowy Sukkot! Not that surprising for Denver, though.

And I am accustomed to the spring snowfall of Pesach. Each year I wait for it. The backyard’s snow-crested cherry blossom tree spreading out over the jade grass, framed by my mother’s kitchen’s white French window is, for me, one of Pesach in Denver’s classic visions.

But a snowfall on practically the eve of Lag BaOmer? Now we’re talking! I felt like reciting the nightly blessing of counting to Shavuot with: “Today is 30 days, which is four weeks and three days of the Omer and Colorado’s latest spring snowfall in more than 40 years!”

I love seeing the unexpected fusion of spring and winter — it makes for an unusual and special Colorado hybrid.

Copyright Intermountain Jewish News