I had a meeting last Friday in Greeley which is about 100 miles to the west of here. Getting there for the 8am start time entailed being on the road before the sun had risen. Between here and Greeley, there is about 60 miles of the Pawnee National Grassland - prairie grassland and sage brush preserved in it's original form. Of course that also means that there is close to an 80 mile stretch where there are no services as well. None of that probably enthuses you, but as a prairie native it does me. It has been a while since I was driving westward as the sun rose behind me amidst the thousands of acres of prairie. It is so flat around here that you can see for 20 miles in all directions (which always made me wonder how western writers could talk of indians sneaking up on people out here).
(The view in spring. Picture from coloradorvcampgrounds.net)
As the sun rose, the landscape went from black to shades of gray and then to patches of glorious molten red. The sage brush and the antelope herds suddenly became clear and then the light increased to the point where color appeared. And in my mind was the thought that this is the way man was meant to live. (If you can't tell by now, I am a born and bred flat-land prairie lover.)
The other thing that was spectacular about the day was that it was in the 60s by noon with only a light 15 mph breeze. Basically it was as if spring had arrived early. It was close to 70 at 5 pm. Fast forward 72 hours and it was about 6 degrees at the same time of day. Monday night it got down to 23 below zero and at 10am Tuesday as I headed off to a meeting, it was still 14 below with wind chills in the -35 range. Made the 50 yards from my truck to the door of the meeting place an interesting journey (The nose piece on my glasses froze to my nose in that short span. Of course the first thing you do when you walk inside and your glasses steam over is reach up and remove ... Ouch.). The temperature eventually got close to -1 for a high, but the wind chill never did get above -20. So last night the temps were in the -17 to -19 range and the wind chills were in the -30 to -40 range. Pretty typical late January weather here. (It could be worse. L called last night and by 8:30pm it was already -22 in the mountains with wind chills lower than -44. She said it made the walk from the garage to the door somewhat painful to exposed skin.)
Here's hoping the weather people have it right and tomorrow makes it above 20 degrees. We could use some warmth and the people (Hi Mom) with frozen pipes would like it to not blow so much. (Mom's pipes have thawed since we have gotten up to 10 degrees today and the wind shifted direction.)
P.S. I think we are becoming less and less like our pioneer blood lines. Maybe we are becoming a nation of wusses. I cannot remember ever having school cancelled because of the cold as a kid. Now they cancel for temps in the -20 range? I suspect that some ancestors are rolling over in their graves. (My great grandparents homesteaded out here, ...) Heck, I can remember being sent outdoors at recess to play in weather that was -20 or worse. It was standard that all girls kept extra pants and tights at school to put on under their dresses. Now I seldom see that kind of weather preparedness. Like I said - we are wussing out. What do you think?