It’s been in the single digits and low teens for a week now. We are like astronauts in our suits, crunching up sugary slopes and weaving between blocks of granite in search of sunset. We see the signs of passing animals: deep hollows where deer have lain through the night, delicate fox prints, the holes squirrels make as they leap between trees.
Woods likes to brush the snow off the rocks and watch it fall. He totters from rock to rock, saying, “rock!” and pointing with his mittened hands. We can see Boulder far below, to the east, and to the west clouds piled high on the Divide, cutting the sun’s last rays into crepuscular beams.
We find a seat above a cliff and sit, his little body in my lap, as the sun sinks. We push snow off our perch, and watch it bounce like sparking sand into the abyss. Mesmerizing. This is the gift winter gives us today. He looks at me and smiles, big and silent. He pounds his mittens on my chest, says, “dada,” and laughs.
I hoist him in the crook of my arm and we hustle back down the trail toward the car as the hills turn blue, the snow gets sharp and squeaky. I let him hold the wheel on the little back roads that take us home.