Beth Brandon

If June got to be spring this year, then July is really owning summer at the moment. We just transitioned to our third season of the year! And all in time for the Fourth of July. I’m really hoping August doesn’t become fall with winter starting in October, but I digress. Locals are now outnumbered 10:1 so it must be the height of the season. Happy Independence Day! Did you enjoy this morning’s traditional cannon blast?

The town’s population has seen daily growth this week. Expectations are at peak and you can feel it. It is not uncommon to see a high number of unbuckled bike helmets, bikes on sidewalks, pedestrians in the middle of the streets and nary a turn signal in sight. It’s summer, after all.

So, what will you do today, July 4, 2019? Head for the hills and escape since there’s a high chance of people in the forecast? Maybe you have the day off and are geared up and ready for a good ol’ holiday complete with a parade spot that you set up last night? Parade, barbecues and, of course, your most festive red, white and blue attire. You’ve got choices. 

Or, maybe you’ll work. I’ve worked the past six or seven years now. No matter where I’ve worked, a parade break has been inevitable. How can you deny revving motorcycle engines, sirens galore and being drenched in water or nearly blinded by candy chucked from high atop a fire engine? If you’re working on the parade route get some work done early because it’s sure to feel like movie day at school come noon. No matter how patriotic you are, the red, white and blue will inevitably take over and you’ll suddenly crave a hot dog and beer. Work? I must tend to patriotism and be free!

If you were toying with the idea of driving to Aspen from anywhere (including inside the city limits) today, maybe you should reconsider. Take. The. Bus. Or walk. If you’re brave, bike. It’s just not worth it to drive if you don’t have to. If you have your dog it’s cool, but you’ve been warned. It’s guaranteed to be a royal pain. So if you can pack a day bag and carry strollers or camp chairs on the bus I’d suggest doing so. Expect less and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Be forewarned, however, that men pushing small white dogs in strollers is happening. It’s easy to forget that it’s summer, since just two short weeks ago, we were under a winter storm warning. I feel like I got caught kicking dandelions in the outfield and summer done came at me like a surprise pop fly. I’ll take it though. No fires. Sunshine. Occasional outbursts of rain and hail. Sounds about right. 

I would like to suggest a few things to the masses however. Sidewalks are for your safety and you should walk on them and not in the streets. Seriously, it’s just right over there. I have a view of Cooper Avenue from my desk and I am amazed daily at how many people are just roaming in the middle of that street, haphazardly waving off cars. And don’t get me started on all the vehicles who go the wrong way on that particular street either. It’s vacation brain time! Plus it’s a holiday, so everybody just chill. “Those people” are our crops and they must be tended to in order for us to make it to harvest. 

To top it all off, we are just ripe for another moose incident. I’m not trying to wish ill upon anyone, but I’ve seen a juvenile pair up at Northstar twice now, and after my friends and I were denied a bike ride up Smuggler Sunday morning due to baby bullwinkle’s grass eating, I’d say local law enforcement, open space and trails rangers, and the Forest Service are all just waiting for the call. Moose on the loose. The moose have propagated their species and are everywhere. They’re like high-waisted jeans or Birkenstocks. Moose are so hot right now. 

I’ve experienced a healthy fear of a few of our fine local fauna, including overconfident geese. But a moose encounter is one I want to steer far, wide and clear from. Those animals are big and not to be bothered. 

I just re-visited the ghost town of Independence this past weekend and it makes dogs in strollers and traffic gripes seem pretty silly. I have to imagine that those residents were just a tad heartier than the current Aspen crowd. Talk about tough. I’m grateful that, save for the occasional rock slide, our supply route is nearly never shut down. 

So as you work, play or wander the backcountry today it’s good to put it all in perspective. Summer is quick, but by God it’s our third season to date, so dig in! And no matter how fleeting it may feel it’s best to relish in all the daily happenings, good, bad, or otherwise. If you see a moose, keep a safe distance and if you see a dog in a stroller, keep a safe distance. Happy Fourth of July, Aspen! 

Beth is watching the parade from the second floor today. She can be reached at bethabrandon@hotmail.com