Breathing in the ice crystals, the chill filled us to our core. Breathing out was to witness C02 in motion. Dancing like a child in The Nutcracker, each breath we exhaled was swiftly taken away by the breeze...okay truthfully strong gusty winds. The sun shone brightly and played Jedi Mind Tricks with us all. How can it be so sunny and yet so breathtakingly cold? The juxtaposition of sunshine and winter's arctic temps was a common one back in the day.
Long ago, perhaps last decade, winter was upon us. It greeted us along with trick-or-treaters on Halloween, and dumped so much snow aloft the Colorado landscape just before Thanksgiving that the ski resorts danced with delight. But skiing was not on my mind that wintry day. I was thinking about how to capture multiple generations of a fantastic and fabulous family without anyone obtaining frostbite, or Frosty the Snowman status.
The cadre had trained for this day (or perhaps not). Either way, temperatures in the teens, along with the heaviest snowfall the Boulder area had seen in years, greeted us all upon the mesa. I was prepared for us all to acknowledge the obvious: it was really, really cold; really, really windy; and really, really snowy. I was prepared for this family to say "peace out until summer." But I was not prepared for them to all willingly go along and hike through it all to capture a few moments together forever with such grace, patience, and humor.
We plowed on across the vast landscape, heading west toward the mountains one step at a time. I was reminded of the prospectors and dreamers who trudged through the blizzards to find gold and a home not so long before us, and was thankful we arrived here by car and not horse and wagon. Together this family persevered and allowed me the honor of photographing them in a truly Winter Wonderland. They were kind, patient, and incredibly wonderful to work with. They reminded me of what a family truly is: a group of people connected and sharing moments (some exceptionally memorable) together. That was more beautiful to witness than even the radiant, snowy land.
When the youngest kiddos arrived, I immediately thought about how my own children would have reacted to the statement of: Get dressed up! We are going outside in 18 inches of snow while it is 12 degrees out and taking photos! Ooh and we are hiking in it too! (Spoiler: hooray would not have been one of those words). But these girls, these girls brought their A+++ game and were a pure JOY to work with. They listened, played, and smiled and were so memorably beautiful to work with. I could not have felt any luckier to work with the entire family! As the sun began to dip behind the highest peaks and the wind continued to visibly force us to our car, we knew it was time to retreat to the comfort of our heated cars.
This new decade arrived with spring temps partying all January, until today. Today, winter has finally returned. I thought in the quiet of the moonlight I heard the mountains shake and laugh at our 70+ degree day just 48 hours ago, while the snow clouds enveloped us in a marshmallow world once more. Looking out upon the once again soft, quiet, and oh-so-beautiful land where the plains meet the Rockies, I smile and fondly remember this family and am so thankful they frolicked in the snow for some photographs, memories, and frozen toes.