Ireland

Like a bunch of calorie–driven bears, most of Aspen is consumed this time of year, not by the real bears or even Da Bears, but by the need to cram into the remaining weeks of warmth all the stuff we slacked on during the summer.

Beth Brandon writes a decent column urging all of us to get outdoors and do all sorts of wonderful things, as if. As if anyone did not know the time has come to gorge on outdoors before the weather gets serious again. August isn’t a bucket list, it’s an empty, dumpster–sized container we don’t need reminding we’ll not be able to empty by Labor Day.

Who can possibly do all the things that will soon be timed out, snowed in or otherwise unavailable? 

It’s not just bike rides, hikes, runs and picnics my fellow First Worlders are driven to consume but concerts, walking, camping and outdoor dining done without benefit of those extra layers hibernating in your closet. Like you’ll never see the sun again, which was pretty much the case during the so–called spring.

Remember where you put those heated gloves, that super-warm layer? The skis? The ice scraper? No, it’s not that you are getting old in a town where 70 is the new 30, it’s just denial taking hold of your mind. If we don’t know where that stuff is, we might not have to use it.

Just don’t ask anyone to do anything this month, they’re booked. I counted 17 public activities on the Aspen Daily News calendar for Saturday,  ranging from concerts to AA meetings to Spartan competition in Snowmass. Sunday, the official day of “rest,” offered another 12.

The music festival is winding down, the fifth-home owners are packing to leave, the races are almost all done and only Labor Day weekend with its volleyball and Jazz Fest stand between us and the End Times, the end of our time of casual outdoor living, playing, hanging out. So out we go, stripping the entertainment bushes of those last delectable fruits of fun.

Invited to meet the vice president? The next president? Your favorite author? Your favorite touring bands? Your significant other for dinner? If you haven’t booked it by now, you won’t be going because the insatiable hunger for good weather, aggravated by a super crappy wet spring, is deep within us.

Locals are a lot of things, but best known as alpha dogs and dogettes who were and are still being brought up convinced that every moment is to be packed with action, that he who dies with the most worn out recreational toys in the closet, that she who helps wear out those toys, is really achieving nirvana.

Notwithstanding the Buddha’s conception of nirvana is a bit more contemplative, this is what we see and hear:

  • Hikers on the trails calling out to one another like bike racers: “Coming through.” “On your left.” “Coming down.” Hikers aren’t yet hip to “Allez, Allez” French for go, go, go but it won’t be long.
  • Smuggler 82 is pretty much spoken for most mornings, much more so than in June or our so-called spring. Fish that out of your dumpster list, check the box and move on.
  • Cellphone calendars crashing on overload as the desperate would-be, ursine-inspired fun crammers arrange and rearrange for the ever-shortening days.
  • Christmas levels of traffic. It’s not just the locals who hear whispering in their ear, “Winter is Coming.”
  • Children telling parents, “But I don’t want to have any more fun. Can we just go home?”
  • Eyes are averted from the top of Red Mountain because that’s where the first yellow leaves are to be spotted. Again, if I don’t look, I don’t see it and if I don’t see it it’s not happening.
  • Oh yes, the e-bikes. Going faster, say 20 miles an hour on a trail, means exposing oneself to more outdoors, a sort of a competitive chugging of the good weather, fun being a function of how much ground you’ve covered and how many people you’ve passed.
  • If you got this far reading this column, drop the paper now and head out. Winter is indeed coming.

Mick Ireland is writing this column as midnight looms because he wants to ride his bike tomorrow, hike with Jane and get a few laps in the pool. Mick@sopris.net.