When walking in it, care is taken with every step, as one can be sucked down into a hole disguised by a snow mound. More than once, all of us have had to crawl out on our knees from one of those sink holes. It borders on ridiculous, but as it is still novel to me, it cracks me up. As one local said, winters here can be intense. I feel like that word is over-used, but can't figure out a better way of expressing it, except with a crazy laugh.
Under these conditions, I've not been able to take long desert walks. Even short walks can be exhausting due to the careful placement of each step and at times falling in up to your thighs. However, I'm fascinated by the animal tracks made more visible by the snow. Although deer and elk have always been in plain sight, most other animals remained hidden. The snow now reveals abundant rabbit and coyote tracks leading to dens once buried from view.
I am again struck by the hardiness of the folks living in this environment. During the winter, locals are always prepared for being stranded and keep snow boots, a sleeping bag and flash light in their cars. Here, Mother Nature takes no prisoners. Some feel the extreme weather helps to evolve one's character. The hot summers and cold winters burn or freeze off layers of protection that no longer serve your soul and the high winds blow the baggage away.
After living here for 5 months, I'm certain I was a swamp thing in a former life. I'm one of those folks who loves riding their bike in 98 degrees and 80% humidity. To me, that's not work. As I told this to a local, she said that what I had needed was to be in an environment that pushed my edges in order to progress, as significant change doesn't occur when you're comfortable.
If this environment teaches me any thing about life, it's to surrender. Surrender and you will be molded into something beautiful, strong, ever-changing and somewhat unpredictable - truly a piece of art.