This morning, briefly, the air had the sweet smells of fresh rain with clear morning air. Soon thereafter “Springtime in the Rockies” returned.
Springtime in the Rockies is actually a song, the current version written by Mary Hale Woolsey (b 1899). The singer recalls his love for a lady and his yearning to return from the city to the Rocky Mountains where she is. Two very different movies, the 1937 movie with Gene Autry and a 1943 movie with Betty Grable share the it as their title and include the song. The 1937 Gene Autry movie, Autry finds himself caught between the cattlemen and the sheepmen with a young lady in the midst. The Autry film portrayed the sheep herder and cattleman’ bitter disagreement. The Grable move is set in the glitz of Lake Louise Lodge where the story of a lover’s tiff unfolds (Springtime in the Rockies,1943). The song because singles hits for Autry and later for Hank Snow who also recorded a version.
For a lot of people we have known in the Rockies, the phrase has nothing to do with romanticism or with unfolding conflict stories. It is the equivalent to a weather eye roll. Shrugged shoulders and a muttered “well, its springtime in the Rockies” covers all of the possible weather conditions that could exist. It provides the precipitation catch basin for snow, rain, mud, landslides, avalanches, and a host of other water-related weather phenomenons. Sometimes the term is used so broadly I expect it could apply to lime Popsicle melting in the road.
The past two days have been windy and raw. The work on the house is perfectly timed to move from inside to outside. While we wait on the tile and granite counter tops to be finished, the trim is being trimed up and the missing door locks and levers have been installed. We have swept places we have not seen for months and even then only briefly while they put the floor down only to toss down the tarps and put the sawhorses right back. The transformation from sub floor to floor unheralded.
Removing two large sets of sawhorses each covered by large OSB plywood makes the room enormous. There is room for the living room even though there are still 20 or so 16 foot long flooring boards leaning against the wall. My spouse was sweeping where living room sawhorses were and I where the between-the-living-room-and-the-dining-room-table spot was. On paper it had a nice footprint in the entirety of the open space that forms the entry, gallery, living, dining and the corner of the kitchen area. There is a lovely window flanked by sliding glass doors to the left where the living room is and the right where the dining table will reside.
Swinging my arms wide, broom still in my hand, I said, “If we ever have one, this is the place for the grand piano.” The thundercloud look I got could conceivably have been covered by Springtime in the Rockies but not quite. Down went the broom and we swept companionably until the whole 26 x 28 room was less sawdusty than it was. We straightened the red resin paper that is taped to the floor and commented on needing to tape the area that had been under the tarps.
After dinner the puddles began to appear. This morning, when the sun was fine, the water still dripped into the puddles. While I stood outside with Sophie while she went potty, the quality of the sunlight shifted slightly and I espied snow flakes.
The rest of the day was muddy, wet and raw. Our clean floors were muddy, wet and raw. We are trying to be relaxed about it but each thing that falls onto our as yet unfinished, raw wood pine floors makes a mental tick mark as to how much sanding and cleaning it will be to seal that bit of floor. I am usually very relaxed about it knowing the resilience of wood and my ability to work with it. It helps too, that the floors are a vision of my spouses and he wants them to creak softly and show years of soft ware, not the hardscrabble finish of the circle sawn and distressed wood so popular these days. Our floors creak and give and change as the day grows from morning to evening. They are tongue and groove and the spaces between the boards changes as the weather changes. It took me a while to appreciate the vision of the floor and even longer to appreciate the floor itself but I love it now. We live with an organic being that breathes and shrinks and grows as the weather changes. The floors are linked to Springtime in the Rockies.
This year the floors are truly linked. Each door now has work being done on the decks and porches. The wood for the railings and posts is hoisted from below to their high locations. The front porch is closest to the ground and even that is 6 feet up. The stair-less front deck, designed to afford us some comfort with our barbeque without inviting the local bear and mountain lion contingent, is 12 feet off the ground. With the 8 x 8 and 6 x 6 chunks of wood came the memory of their life on the ground during springtime in the Rockies. Soon the decks and porches were covered in a layer of mud formed from the dirt brought up as the wood came up and over from below mixed with the melted snow and the workers boots.
I put tarps down by the door where the saw horses had recently been stabled. Because we could not get to that area before they left, there was no paper. I could not put it down quuicly wihtout being in the way so I used our large canvas painting tarps. I always worry that someone will trip over them but I am always more impressed at how people can come and go aross a constructinon area walking on tarps that get more and more rumpled though the day as if they were walking across the kitchen floor.
Today our floors formerly under the sawhorses that had resided in the living room since January were introduced to Springtime in the Rockies. It was a long day working on cabinets so I did not stop to see how they fared. I am sure they did fine.
The floors are resilient, organic, wood and mud, water and snow befit them during these final days of construction. Soon after the workers do not need to come in and out to do their jobs, the doors will be closed and the weather will be outside of the house.
Springtime in the Rockies will continue until well into June, coming to a close just a while before the two year anniversary of the wildfire that consumed our old house. As we move into the house with the resilient, organic wood floors, we will we will be resilient with them.