Aspens yellow. Mornings jewel with frost. Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds dwindle from local feeders. Bear/trash bin/human encounters increase. Foxes fatten and fur up. Hunting Season on the Hooved open. Here begins my favorite season. Crisp and focused; Fall.
For once in a Blue Moon I signed into a Fidgit-friendly lease, promoting great potential for growth and development. At long last the Great Map again hangs proudly and my crock pot sits at the ready. I have a planning station, launch-pad, and downy nest into which to nuzzle.
There is also a TV; the values of which I am dubious. If I could sell it for $20 I’d be $1K richer for the time and brain-power thereby cultivated. Unfortunately, despite my developing mad CraigsList skillz, it is not mine to sell.
Work presents uncharted territories. The state of Colorado forges ahead with expansions of government medical coverage options. A massive undertaking, paved with good intentions; already muddled in legal jargon and knotted in the labyrinth of its own databases.
Fortunately, for the last hour of my every work-day, I get to help facilitate* the brand spankin new (to Summit County) CATCH program at one of the local elementary schools. Educational and community organizations are coming together to offer an opportunity for our kids to get an hour of games and a healthy snack while parents get an extra hour to the long days many must work to support their family (it is not uncommon to work 2-3 jobs up here).
*A fancy way of saying “play with kids”
Most thrilling on my radar is the opportunity to participate in the 2012-2013 Leadership Summit Program. Some weeks ago I had seen it in the community notes of the Summit Daily but shied from asking for the time off and the program fees were further prohibitive. Though I’d clipped the note and carried it around for a week, I gave up before daring to so much as give breath to the hope. The next day our FIRC Director sent out an email regarding participation in the Program.
Only a fool ignores when fate knocks twice. I applied and sent our Director the paragraph she requested about myself (I cheated by, in a single link, giving access to these decade long chronicle of myself). The next morning I was staggered to learn that someone in the community had volunteered to sponsor my tuition! A solid brick of humility is thereby added to the foundation of this opportunity. Words can’t encompass this gratitude, so I leave it to my actions over time to express it.
Come this time of year, one never knows which outing will be the last hurrah. Friday night concerts at the Dillon Amphitheater on the Lake conclude; the Farmer’s Market dwindles. The cities set off 4th of July fireworks which had been put off by the fire bans; plenty of duds fizzled and flew erratic. Storm clouds are heavier, larger, colder and less regulated.
We hike on borrowed time. Dusty, Little Miss the min-pin, and I took a day hike up to Chihuahua Lake, tucked into a pocket along the Divide, just under Grizzly Peak, who hangs with the likes of Grays and Torreys (quintessential 14ers).
Fall colors spread like fire across the meadows, igniting groves of aspen. I’ll take the cool and color any day. That evening, after laying Little Miss down for a heavy nap, we joined forces with C&J. It being Monday night and thinking to have just dodged the Labor Day crowds, we headed to the hot springs.
Reaching the pool of warm waters as darkness fell, the River rushed strong just beside, the Milkyway hung thick over-head, a fire burned at a camp amoung the reeds across the river, and Buffalo Boys lounged lazily in the pool, decompressing from the Phish Concert.
Perpetuating an ill bethought pattern in my life, having never swam across the River, I decided to do so for the first time tonight. I mean, it worked out when I decided to first ski Loveland Pass under a full moon last winter…
Despite years of experience in mermaidery with Little Sister and Brother (he was always the shark), it is rather difficult to swim with your legs crossed at the ankle. Mermaids have it a lot harder than many might think; particularly river mermaids. Water, as it turns out, gets dark and cold at night too. Rocks under the water, on the other-hand, are a constant. Low water and pushy current make for simplified navigation; get upstream of where you want to end up and swim toward the light. In keeping with my family’s request, I only tell you of these ventures once successfully survived.
On the other hand, I’d really rather not do the 10 Mile Range traverse alone this weekend. Just sayin…