It’s been a nice fall | AspenTimes.com

It’s been a nice fall

Roger Marolt

I swear falls keep getting nicer and nicer around here.This one is about the most pleasant I’ve experienced. Last Friday I rode Government Trail two weeks after I officially put my mountain bike up for the winter, the municipal golf course was playable until the day before Halloween, and the streets of Snowmass Village were turned into an ice skating rink only once, during a maintenance department October predawn street washing. It seems that since August, we have settled into a repeating pattern of six warm, sunny days followed by one of those refreshing rain showers. My lawn is still green, and the last golden leaves are still hanging on branches in town. I doubt I could find a die-hard skier who wouldn’t agree that the past two months have been glorious!All over town can be heard the refrain, “I wouldn’t mind another couple of weeks of this weather,” answered with a chorus of, “Yep, I don’t care if it doesn’t snow until the week before Thanksgiving.”Yes indeed, there can’t be many on the face of the planet who have benefited more from the global thaw than us right here in good ol’ Aspen, Colo. While it may be true that several eons from now global warming may spell doom for this planet, it is positively true that some places will benefit from our glacially paced demise along the way. It’s sort of a “Destroy Globally, Enjoy Locally” perspective.I remember back to the mid-’90s when the first California transplants started sprouting in the midvalley. You just know that something big is happening when a non-native species begins to take over an eco(as in economic)system. A friend pointed out that, not only had the national economy come out of recession but the Colorado winters had been unseasonably mild for the past couple of years, as well. “Wait until we have a few back-to-back normal winters again and then watch all of these warm-blooded transplants freeze out and wither back to the beaches,” he told me. And it made sense! Anyone who had moved here in the few years preceding that time had not seen a “real” Rocky Mountain winter, one replete with dozens of days with below-zero temperatures and weeks on end where you honestly wondered if the sun would shine again.I waited to see if his theory would hold true. And, do you know what? I’m still waiting for it to even be tested. We’ve yet to have one of those old fashioned ice-age-fear-inducing winters since. Oh, we’ve had a few spells where big storms have dropped enough snow to make the winters look to be “near average” on paper. But I really believe that those snows are coming later in the fall and departing earlier in the spring. I hardly ever get cold in January anymore. Hot chocolate sales are rumored to be way down at the Sundeck.And real estate prices continue to rise. More and more people want to move here. Oh yeah, give me all that malarkey about technocommuting, our small-town flavor and the security of country living. The things that matter most to people when they choose a place to live are job security and a comfortable climate. Since people haven’t made career moves here since 1898, one can conclude that the primary motivation now is our mountain-tropical climate. For crying out loud, I know people who move here from the Midwest because it’s warmer.Inconsistent snowpack and less-than-sporadic powder days would have taken a larger toll on the local economy had it not been for the migration of the formerly beach-bound snowbirds honing in on our hospitable winter warmth. Even in the old days, nobody really showed up to ski before Christmas, and they all left before April anyway. Even still, the old tourist industry has been supplanted by the more lucrative real estate economy. As far as I can tell, not many are complaining about the effect on their bank accounts. I bet that if it never snowed here again, many people wouldn’t complain. Can you picture a more picturesque year-round golf resort than right here? Fore!The biggest complaint I hear about summer in Aspen is that it’s too short. So, who’s going to gripe if they get a little longer? I’m not. Man, three or four more weeks of western Colorado summer sounds like heaven!So, how am I going to reconcile myself with global warming when things seem to keep getting so much better around here? A few cold years could spell doom for the local real estate market and ruin my financial prospects of purchasing a beachside condo just when I would need it most. Of course, I have to rely on my intelligence to help turn things around. I believe that global warming is occurring. It’s likely caused from the incessant burning of fossil fuels. It likely disrupts weather patterns that we have arranged our lives around. Then again, I trust this same intellect when it tells me to live for today because in the blink of an eye I’ll be dead, and after that, Earth will have to fend for itself again for the remaining billions of years of its life. I am a small man. The truth is that I cannot wage a fruitful war to save mankind from itself. I’ll save my energy to fight battles against those with far less tenacity and ingenuity toward destruction. Whatever this global warming is, it has not had noticeable adverse affects on my life. Its consequences alone are not motivation enough for me to change anything. In my life, I am blinded, numbed, and cerebrally impaired to the devastation, doom, or destruction, fairly and not, attributed to it.But here I am, surrounded by a great deal of beauty. It humbles me to the point where I see that waste is wrong, and preservation of what I find so pleasing is the only option. I am blessed with so much that I know accumulation for the sake of having is unnecessary; satisfying desire is undesirable. I want the future to offer the privilege to seek simplicity in the spirituality that becomes obvious here, if I let it.In the end, if that contributes to the alleviation of global warming, I’m all for it. The magnificence of nature will be our saving grace. Roger Marolt lives in a nice place that’s getting nicer every day. You can argue that it’ll probably get worse after he’s gone, but he won’t argue back. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com

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