The surprising colors of winter |

The surprising colors of winter

Kristen Lodge/Outdoor Adventures
Grand County, CO Colorado
Kristen Lodge / Sky-Hi News

I am cross-country skiing on the Fraser River Trail and as I glide along the trail my mind wanders to so many things; music, the holidays, family, poetry. I am mad at myself for waiting too long to ski after the early snow storms.

I’m finally out, skiing the Fraser River Trail from the Fraser Visitor Center to Rendezvous during my lunch break. I ski past the brightly colored willows that line the Fraser River and they remind me of a Marjorie Cranston painting I saw in her gallery in Grand Lake a few years ago. It is only when I really pay attention that I notice how colorful willows can be throughout the year; today I am paying attention.

Even though willows are dormant in the winter, they have a striking color that catches me by surprise. I get in a groove, and the constant, melodic sound of my skis moving over the snow causes my mind to drift to the artists and musicians in the valley who sing, paint, and write poetry. As I kick and glide, kick and glide, in rhythmic motion I can hear the lines of a poem my sister wrote this year: “And I believe in the power of the earth”.

She is a 5th grade teacher in a seacoast New Hampshire public school. She wrote this poem using Nanci Atwell’s training/guidance to teach the power of poetry to her students. Atwell states that one must write in order to teach, so she wrote this poem, and sent it to me. I loved it.

I remember lines of the poem as I ski and am affected by her powerful language to depict the seasons and how trees and sky transform a landscape. At the end of each stanza, she reiterates what she believes in; I believe in it, too:


By KE Lodge

Since long ago, I have embraced

The blue of the sky and the green of the tree’s leaves on a crisp summer day

The emerald colored leaves against the bold blue sky

Together they give peace a color

A sense of unity and oneness

It surprises me each year how the beauty strikes me so

And I believe in

the power of the earth

Without warning the leaves transform

To bright ruby, golden sunflower, cinnamon orange and earthen brown

Blending with the rain and the wind to storm away the green

Replacing summer’s beauty with autumn’s passion

Fall’s contrast creates reflection as the days march forward

I am struck by the force of change

And I believe in

the boldness of the earth

The wind whips the earth into shape for the coming of the cold

And the gray of the sky ready to blanket the ground

Days are short, but the air is crisp and smells of snow

The blue returns

The beauty of the seasons always surprises me and being on skis makes me feel like life has given me a new start.

This week when I skied at Winter Park Resort I am reminded of how much I love downhill skiing as I fly down Cranmer and laugh out loud at my clumsy maneuvers over the bumps on Balch and Outrigger; a gentle acknowledgement, again, that I am in the right place.

Each new season brings surprises that take time to get use to, especially the cold mornings when I bundle up in hat and gloves to walk my dogs.

Morning dog walks are always an adventure but add a little snow and the dogs go crazy. My nutty Lab Abbey is content to roll around in the snow on her back, while my younger pup, Daisy, wants to run, run, run, through it. Just as my body adjusts to these cold mornings, the temperatures warm for a few days.

I know this, too, will change and snow will blanket the valley and mountains just in time for holidays.

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