Lunch time, I need a break from my desk chair and computer screen. I am busy, but tell myself I will be more productive after I get some fresh air and sunshine into my skin. It’s true, I always feel so much better after I have spent a measly 10 or 15 minutes outside. Winter in the high desert is cold, but beautiful. All at once white and sparkling, blindingly blue and bright. It can be covered in snow or dry as a bone, but one thing is almost certain, it gets really damn cold.I still insist on wearing skirts, I am like that.
I drive just behind my office, up a big hill that I run on when the ground isn’t covered in mud or snow. The view of the entire valley comes into view, even with the inversion layer that settles into the valley during the winter months, I can see for miles. Downtown, the casinos poke their necks up in the distance and Peavine Mountain tall and regal like a painting. I can see west, all the new houses that cover what used to be ranches and a place where the cattle, wild horses and coyotes could roam. I watch the tiny toy cars stop and go obediently to the red and green lights along the McCarran loop. Southwest, there she is, Mount Rose. Standing tall and covered in snow- scars run down her face where people, that are too tiny to see from here, ski and snowboard happily, because this year, the snow is really pretty good.
I walk down a path and look at how the snow has turned into crystals rather than the fluffy flakes they started out as. The sage and the rabbit brush poke their noses from the frost and sit, quietly and grey for the winter. If I step on a branch, the smell of snow and sagebrush takes me back to being 9 or 10 years old- flying behind a quad on a sled- hookie bobbing around the Granite Ranch. We would laughing our heads off in terror and joy wrapped up into one. The smell of cow patties and the state flower would fill our cold noses and settle in as memory that was forgotten, until this moment, this now.
I’m not really ready to get back in the car, but I do. I take in one more look and a very deep breath, hoist myself into the truck and turn back down the hill.