Monday, April 17, 2017

So this is spring

Beat and I are nearing one year in Boulder, so we've experienced all of the seasons in high country. Of all transitions, spring is usually the most difficult for me. The quiet darkness of winter dissolves into a kind of uncomfortable mania; previously empty trails begin to feel crowded; new smells and sounds barrage the senses. My typical allergy season creates new weights, and the crushing heat, dust, and fire of summer feel too close for comfort. 

And yet I do enjoy the ease of mild weather, watching green return to the hillsides, anticipating the return of the hummingbirds, laughing at the antics of wild turkeys and watching a herd of elk graze in the back yard. Wildflowers and daffodils emerge from clumps and brown grass. That uncomfortable mania also breeds excitement. "Something is going to happen! I don't know what, but good things are coming." 

Even as I say this out loud, a larger part of me remembers that the state of the world looks dire, and it's difficult to veer away from this urge toward despair. I'm still haunted by my experience with the avalanche last month; I see blocks of snow tumbling toward me in wisps of dreams, before I awaken to early morning light, golden and rich in the springtime. It's all so fleeting, all of it, and it's infinitely better to appreciate the present than fear the future.

 My physical state still stymies me. Now that my thyroid levels have dropped, I'm sleepy much of the time. I catch myself dozing off while waiting in the dentist's chair. I steal the occasional nap during work sessions. I'm tired at bedtime, and usually sleep soundly through the night, which is strange. Perhaps this is just the way 37-year-old me is supposed to be, a trait that hyperthyroidism shielded.

Still, when I venture outside, I often feel more strong and alive than I did during my best season, winter. If I want to beat the fatigue and sleepiness, all I need to do is get out in the warm spring air for a ride or a run. Tree pollen has been bad lately — something for which I only have a "mild" allergy, so I haven't been treated for it — and I can feel pollen clogging up my sinuses and irritating my eyes. And yet, I can breathe. Sometimes I wish I could immediately recapture all of my former strength, but I'll settle for breathing.

 And the elk are here. Beautiful animals to watch from the comfort of the living room.

This one seemed enamored with the goldfish pond. Probably because of the water or his reflection, but I like to think he too appreciates the hardy little fish.

 On Sunday, Beat and I went for a long adventure "run." I call it an adventure and "run" in quotes because much of the route, for me, was a series of stumbles and careful footing over the rocky trails of the Flatirons. If I harbor any ambitions for summer, they lie in the realm of hiking and running. I wonder what I can still do with this sleepy, perhaps over-medicated body of mine. So I've been running, perhaps too much, and not as fast as I'd like. But every step feels freeing.

 We hit up South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, and Green Mountain. It was hotter than we expected, and we both had to ration water even after stashing some below Green. That caused a bit more struggling than necessary up the rock staircase known as Shadow Canyon. Still, despite believing I'd just completed one of the sloggiest slogs in my long history, I still set a "PR" for that climb. After 18 miles with more than 5,000 feet of climbing, my legs felt pretty spry, although my confidence had taken a hit after slipping and sliding too many times on loose dirt.

 I also used the weekend to redesign the blog, as you may have noticed if you're one of the few who still looks at this blog directly. I aimed to make it less cluttered and a little easier to navigate, as the thing nears 2,000 posts and becomes increasingly more unwieldy.

I also made a "best of" blog page, mostly for myself, to compile my favorite posts over the years. Scrolling as quickly as possible through 11.5 years of blog posts was an exercise in bewildering nostalgia — to watch it all slip by so quickly, and marvel at the sheer bulk of time that's passed. It's all so fleeting, all of it, and it's good to remember how much a gift every day has been. 


  1. i love the new look, but i do miss the links to other blogs. could you make a place for them?

  2. Thank you. The blog roll is still.listed in a pullout sidebar. You can open it by clicking on the three white lines in the upper right corner. Not all that intuitive, but it was a trade-off to clean up the home page.

  3. Dammit, a lot of my blog visits came from here! Oh well. The sleepiness sounds a lot like my hypothyroid self. But I am sure they are monitoring that as well.

  4. Whoops, the blog roll is in the left-hand corner. It's likely fewer than 25 percent of people who read a post access it directly from desktop/laptop computers. The vast majority of the metrics are phones, tablets, e-mail subscriptions, and feed-readers ... people who never see the sidebars anyway. One of my justifications for changing it.

    The sleepiness kinda sucks, I'm not going to lie. I hope I adjust. If this is my new normal, I'd almost consider going back to hyperthyroid (not really. That condition is horribly dangerous as well as unpleasant.)

  5. "crushing heat" ?

    Does it get that hot there ?

    1. For what it's worth, I think any temperature over 90 degrees is "crushing heat," and believe I'm justified in using this descriptor because I've heard others call 45 degrees "freezing."

  6. Like the new look of your blog. But I had no trouble navigating the prior version. I'm one of the few that access your blog via a laptop.

    "'s infinitely better to appreciate the present than fear the future." Amen!

  7. Jill, I like the new clean format of the posts. Older eyes mean I tend to pop from mail and read either on the site or on Google+ for bigger font and pics.


Feedback is always appreciated!