Jane Ellen

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An Early Snowfall

It's the 8th of October, and there's snow on the mountains. Temperatures dropped severely overnight, and while there's no snow in the city, apparently there is copious snow to the north. It's rare to see snow this early in the southwestern desert landscape, and it's a thrilling change from endless months of summer and the brief pseudo-autumn we've been enjoying.

Members of my mother's family claimed that the calendar date of the first snowfall predicted how many snows would fall that winter. I can't find anything to back it up, nor do I have any idea whether it's a farmer's, mid-western, or even urban legend. I would actually welcome seven more snows this winter, assuming this counts as the first of eight.

Snow dramatically changes the barren landscape here in an almost magical way that's hard to describe. It's not just the mountains that benefit: scrub brush, barren outcroppings of rock, terminally bleak landscapes, all receive the gift of new life from a snowfall. Sunrises and sunsets become more intense, and the occasional dense fog that drifts out of the canyon turns the mundane into the mystical.

I've spent a good portion of my life wishing for cooler temperatures when it was hot and wishing for the warmth of spring after an extraordinarily severe winter. This year I'd like to enjoy what I have, when I have it. I may mutter a bit if tomorrow's temperaturs soar upwards 50 degrees higher than this afternoon, but I'm hopeful I can find something nice to say instead. I'd rather enjoy being in the here and now, than to spend the rest of my life whinging over what's just beyond my reach …

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