Park Place Lodge

By Keith Liggett

One of the anomalies of living in a town with a ski hill is the seasonal convergence of winter and spring. The hill is closed. Snow remains deep within sight, actually only a few minutes walk up the mountain. At the same time, in the valley bottom, our neighbors are setting up for the first grass cutting. Today they edged their lawn.

The willows are about to leaf with a nubbin of green exposed at the end of every branch. Step off the sidewalk and touch the sticky buds. Try to wipe the sticky off on your pants or coat. It stays.

This is spring.

This is the touch of spring.

There are no bugs.

There are no bears.

This is the convergence of seasons. The weather swings wild — winter to summer in the span of a few minutes. The other day, we started dour with a chilly light drizzle. By mid-morning, the clouds showed broken blue sky. By noon everyone wore sunglasses and had stripped down to t-shirts and shorts. A little after three, the Lizard Range disappeared below a slow moving grey mass. A Lord Voldemort cloud of seeming evil spread down the mountain and advanced toward town. Finding no resistance, moving, the cloud grasped at the newly found ways of people walking the street, most seeming blissfully unaware of the approach.

The cloud rolled across the river from West Fernie carrying rain, wind and hail. The temperature dropped five, maybe seven degrees. More rain. Sideways rain. Tropical monsoon rain with inches standing in the streets as cars slowed to snowy morning speeds. Only a couple blocks in any direction remained visible through the rain. The rest absorbed, swallowed by the cloud.

Gone from our life.

The sunglasses, shorts and t-shirts hastily replaced by jeans, sweaters and Gore-tex. Hoods and caps de rigor as an umbrella lasted seconds in the ripping breeze.

In the rips, in the meeting of two currents, there you find life. On a river. In a culture. In a year.


Spring fell out of the mountains and into our valley. Summer runs not far behind, an hour or two at most.

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