In my little corner of the Rockies, the past several weeks have been cold and wet. Most days we wake up to a world swallowed by clouds, then as likely as not, fall asleep to the sound of cold rain drumming against the shingles. Earlier today, June 17, I was south of town picking morel mushrooms and snowflakes were drifting through the pines. It should come as no surprise these days that when locals get together, as likely as not we'll spend time grousing about the weather - incredulous that our normal eleven weeks of honest-to-goodness summer is rapidly being pared down to a hiccup.
Yet privately, many of us are grateful. Thankful for the way this spring is unfolding across the foothills thick and slow, the land reeling with every shade of leaf and bloom: bluestem and Timothy, balsamroot and starflower and bluebells, fairy slippers and pasqueflowers and Oregon grape.
"Winter in June!" we say to each other at the Post Office or the grocery store, pretending amazement or gloom. Yet the very word "winter" comes from a Germanic word that roughly means "time of water." And in the American West, the time of water, no matter what month it happens to arrive, is surely among the finest of blessings.