Colorado, USA: A Gift of Snow


CastleRock12292006There’s a field off of a growing road in a growing town in central Colorado. For most of the year, that field sits between an underfunded public school and a fire station, within earshot of a busy highway. For most of the year, that field is dirt and dry-brush. A hiding place for snakes and fleas, one good cigarette flick away from an inferno. On some days, too few, when the snow comes down thick and loud, there is no other place on Earth more liberating.

If you find this field on one of those special days, don’t bother looking for the school, or the firehouse. You will not find them. Don’t bother listening for the droning tones of the nearby highway, you will not hear them. They’ve all disappeared behind gray sheets and ice laden winds so completely that it could be said that they were never even there in the first place.

You won’t need to walk far to find what you are looking for in this field. Maybe twenty steps from your car, thirty if you’re having a particularly off day. It’ll come to you naturally as you stare into the distant blur, where undisturbed snowfall curves and blurs right into the sky. You become disconnected from the larger world, and the larger world becomes disconnected from you. That’s when you realize that you’ve stepped out of the town and into the Big White Box.

The Big White Box is a fantastic place full of nothing, that gives you something each time you visit. Maybe it’s a solution to a problem. Maybe you realize your new jacket does make you look like a clown. Maybe you wind up writing about empty fields on the internet. It’s all good. After all, is there no greater freedom than genesis sprung forth from nothing?
Sure, a similar sight can be found wherever the land is flat and snow is common. It is, however, rare to find one so heavily surrounded by society. Anyone can be alone. It’s truly an experience to be alone in the middle of civilization.

No, it’s not somewhere you can visit any time you wish, though scarcity breeds specialty, nor will you be able to visit it at all after maybe one more season. Even now they cut away more and more of the field with skeletal roads and empty lots awaiting busy construction crews and anxious buyers. Just one more season, two, if we’re lucky.

I’ll make the trip one last time. I’ll probably be the only one. It might be better that way. I don’t have the slightest clue what the presence of another person in that field would do to the experience. Perhaps if the field’s gift was more well known it would have become something of an attraction. Fifteen dollar admission buys you ten minutes. The best taste of nirvana you’ll have today, guaranteed or your money back.

The town is Castle Rock, Colorado. There are only a handful of schools, even fewer fire houses. If you really want to find this field, that is enough. You’ll recognize it by the dead grass in summer, and the magic in winter.

About the Author: My name is Ryan Vann, and I am a college student and a fiction writer living in Southern California. I grew up in Colorado and enjoy odd places perhaps a bit more than I should.


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