DUELING OPINION | Spring in Colorado is the best because we need it so badly

The light outside the window dims. The wind begins to rattle at the shutters. Clouds pour over the mountains and spread across the sky.

It’s finally time for rain. Spring has come to Colorado.

As everyone accustomed to living in Colorado can attest, the weather, while extremely unpredictable, tends toward sunny for most of the year in this arid climate. According to Uncover Colorado, the “300 days of sunshine” claim is a myth, but the Springs does experience approximately 247 days of sunshine or partial sunshine a year. That’s about 68% of the year.

We live in a city that is constantly gasping for water. It feels like we are always in and out of drought, and the sun continues to suck every drop of moisture out of the air. I am also one of what I understand is a minority that actively prefers rain to sunshine. Living here can sometimes drive me insane.

Rain soothes the entire world. It moisturizes the plants and quiets everything down for a while. For me, the clouds are like a blanket settling on my heart, giving me a break from the heat and the noise of the hot, dry, screaming city. I have always been wired this way, and the dryness of the state makes rain even more of a blessing when it comes.

I also got into gardening during quarantine. My family has a mixed history of green thumbs — my grandma is a plant wizard, but other family members are not. I wanted to find out which camp I fell into, but I was fairly sure I would be bad at taking care of plants.

When I received some bulbs from my grandma and aunt in the fall, I planted them, not thinking much of what would happen. I figured nothing good would come of it. Come spring, I was more excited than I had been in a year to see tiny little green buds poking out of my flowerbed. Every day, I would go to a job that wore me out and when I came home, I would just sit and look at them like a proud mom.

Digging around in the dirt saved my mental health. As the Mayo Clinic Health System says, gardening “[lightens my] mood and [lowers] levels of stress and anxiety” and “provides the opportunity to slow down, plan or mentally work out a problem.” I would go outside, put on some classical music and start digging to make room for more plants.

Every year, no matter how busy I get and how defeated I feel by weeds and brambles, the plants come back. I get to watch the little tree buds grow from dead branches into full leaves and feel the excitement of the crabapples turning pink on my street. The world comes back into color.

When the clouds gather for the first time every spring, I run outside and sit with them until they break and pour rain all over me, washing away the dust of the last year. As much as I love rain, the gradual rise in temperature also makes it easier for me to go outside, which means I benefit from the increasing sunlight, too.

Spring matters all the more here because of how harsh the air is. It is a reminder that flowers can grow in the desert. It is a reminder that death is not the consequence of a dry spell, and that every year is a fresh start. It is a reminder to give myself grace because plants come back when they are ready, but they will always come back.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash.