Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Denver's First Taste of Winter
The First Snowfall
I work in downtown Denver, in a building overlooking the Civic Center Park, a great expanse of green space between the Denver City/County Building (shown in the picture), and the State Capitol Building.
Our offices are new, and if you go up on the 10th floor, where they could have put yet another executive's office, they put a beautiful patio and rest/break area for all of us to enjoy.
Across the street and park is Daniel Liebeskind's new creation -- the Hamilton Building, a new modern art wing of The Denver Art Museum, and said that given our city's beauty, friendliness, and love of the arts, that "Denver is America at its Best."
Oh, how I agree.
Last night we got our first real snowfall in Denver. We had about 3 inches on the ground this morning, and I knew when I got to work that the view would be beautiful, so I brought my camera with me.
In the background you can see the snow-covered foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which I've come to love as much as the Pacific Ocean.
It's funny to me how visitors from the coast (and we recently had one) lament the fact that we don't have saltwater here.
No, we don't. We don't have the smelly ocean.
And granted, I love time at the smelly ocean when I go home to the Coast. But the same feeling of great space is achieved when you drive a few minutes out of Denver into what are now my beloved Rockies.
Rugged, unforgiving, and willing to kill you if you turn your back on them, just like the ocean, the Rockies are a place that are uniquely Western. They were written into America The Beautiful for a reason.
I love the snow in Denver. Don't be fooled, we get plenty of it just like Seattle gets rain, but just like Seattle, it's not that bad.
We get a few inches, and by noon it's half gone. We get a few feet, and within a day, the roads are cleared enough to get to work, even if your driveway isn't.
There's a funny thing here too -- we get a few freak snowstorms like this one so early in the fall, then another one or two in November and December, but January is freakishly warm (60s, sunny) for the most part, and then BAM.
Spring is when the snow really comes.
In 2003, we had 3 feet of snow fall 4 days before my birthday in late March.
The first year I came here, the locals informed me of the short growing season at this altitude (It's about Mother's Day through part of September), so the day after Mother's Day when I planted all my flowers -- it snowed 7 inches.
The latest I've seen it snow here is June 2nd, and I can't say that was a thrill either.
But the funny thing is, you CAN see it coming. Weatherman says "60, 40, Snow" and you know...but the good news is, it'll be 70 the day after, and gone by the time your evening commute comes.
Yes, we get strange weather here. There's a reason Denver was founded, I think. The Settlers came out, after days or weeks across The Great Plains, took one look at the Rockies in front of them and said, "This is good. We can stay here."