Marolt: I’m warning you: savor the itch of those mosquito bites | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: I’m warning you: savor the itch of those mosquito bites

Roger Marolt
Roger This

Every year about this time, when the mornings are cool and there is a chance of waking up to a little frost on the lawn, I panic. I've seen the signs before. Fall is in the air and summer will be over before we know it.

I once worked for an accounting firm in the city and was out on a job away from the office with a colleague. I remember that it was Friday because there we were, young, unsupervised CPAs at a client's office, crunching big numbers all week looking forward to letting off some steam that evening in a new part of town. The area was called The Tech Center, which to us meant exciting, if undefined things like we had never before seen happening at their happy hours. We had no idea that the people who worked in these flatter but larger buildings in this wannabe downtown with manicured grass in the medians were bigger nerds than we were.

We left the office in high spirits and anticipation, but somewhere in the parking lot I noticed my friend had become sullen. I asked him what was the matter and he replied dejectedly, "I just realized it's only two days until we have to go back to work."

That's how I feel now, even more than a month away from peak runoff. Even certainly before the last snow of this season will fall, I am already dreading the first of the next. The tender green budding leaves are too close in luminescent brilliance for me not to be reminded of fall's colors.

Summer is too short in Aspen, Colorado, at 8,000 feet above sea level. Some will argue that point, but they are wrong. Anyone who truly believes winter is best is in Argentina now, sharpening their edges or browsing the internet over a glass of vino caliente con azucar for down sweaters and wool-lined slippers for stepping out across the snowy deck to grab a couple more logs to stoke the fire with.

When I was younger, my wife and I made a plan to go on a long hike every weekend into the local mountains with the aim of taking advantage of every moment summertime had to give. We pushed the envelope by taking our first nature walks up the ski mountains in waterproof boots well before all or even most of the snow had melted. It was muddy hell, but we were hiking and thus it was summer, at least in our minds.

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We stuck to the plan and walked hundreds of miles through the woods that year in all kinds of weather conditions over all variety of terrain encountering multitudes of alpine ecosystems. We saw lakes and waterfalls, fields of lupine and snow. We spied plenty of elk, coyotes, birds and spooked a sow and her cubs. Fortunately they ran the other way.

At the end of it, I am horrified to report that it seemed to be a summer shorter than all others; one for the record books, crammed with so many things and places to remember that I can hardly recall any of it. The duration seems so impossibly brief with an authentic dreamlike feel so fuzzy around the edges that I can hardly believe it happened.

It wasn't my only experimentation with trying to slow summertime down. I recognized the relationship with warm weather and the acceleration of the clock when I was approximately a schoolboy. Winters seemed limitless in duration sitting in classes while the entire summer felt shorter than a single session of detention.

As I grew taller and my patience shorter, I took on all assortment of dreadful summer employment in hopes of stretching time. From boring to excruciatingly physically exhausting, I dabbled in more than the average jackass of all trades. Nothing. Time flew as fast as ever.

What finally convinced me of the futility of making summer last was the one spent being sick. My timing couldn't have been more perfect. I got an infection in my spine in May and was hooked on IV antibiotics through September. I spent lots of time with doctors and was prescribed no meaningful physical activity. I spent the days resting, reading and complaining, wishing I could do things like tie my own shoes, going so far as becoming reminiscently sentimental about mowing the grass.

That summer ended like all the others. I stayed up late to enjoy the solstice and woke up early to the first snowfall of October. Try not to enjoy it — sunburn, mosquitoes, your garden of weeds, and all. But I tell you — there is no hope.

Roger Marolt knows the endless summer is a myth. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

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