On the Trail: Recharging your batteries
October 6, 2005
You read Sara Garton’s story in the Aspen Times Weekly titled “My life without a car.” You think, I should quit using my car as a crutch. You walk plenty, but you still find yourself using your car for petty things, like driving to City Market – and circling for a spot – or driving to work on days when you feel a little worn out from your morning run.I moved to this town to not drive to work, you think to yourself. You pledge to start planning better. That is, after you drive to work Tuesday morning because you’re trying to make a meeting on time.Karma catches up to you. As you head out later that afternoon in the rain to cover a tennis match, your car won’t start. You open the hood and check the battery. It looks like a flock of birds used it for target practice. The negative and positive hubs are both encased in an inch of corroding battery acid.Your trusty photographer/dime mechanic at the Times takes one look under your hood, then tells you what you already knew but didn’t want to say. You need a new battery. That night, after the rain, you have the streets to yourself as you walk home. Streetlights illuminate your way all the way down Main Street, but after you cross No Problem Bridge and head up the hill to King Street, you find yourself hemmed in by darkness. It’s like one of those dreams where everyone in the world disappears for a day. It’s just you and the tent of stars above. You realize you wouldn’t have ever taken a few minutes to peruse the night sky if your car battery had worked and you had driven home.You share a laugh with yourself. Then you finish your walk home.The next day you get a new battery. Your car is running fine, but you decide to leave it at home and walk to work. The leaves will soon be gone, you tell yourself. But the incomparable night sky won’t. And you can have it all to yourself whenever you want.