Platts: Sometimes, even we need a break from paradise
Spring is here, the slopes are (almost) closed, and a particularly epic ski season is in the books for Aspen/Snowmass.
As the snow melts and the mud emerges, the transients are preparing for their next adventure on the beaches of Nantucket or on the slopes of South America, though they have all given profound promises to return in six months when the lifts open again.
Those of us who have occupational obligations year-round start to count the weeks since we’ve been west of the roundabout. As businesses close for spring and parking spaces finally open up, there is a sense of lethargy in the air. There is a sense that even Aspen may want a break from us.
Spring in Aspen gives us all the opportunity to break past the high walls of the Roaring Fork Valley and find comfort and renewal in other places. Some people head to Moab to hit the bike trails. Others go to the East Coast or to Europe for a few weeks of adventure. For me, being nestled in the Rockies had become claustrophobic. And though I did not have big travel plans for the spring, I wanted to see an uninhibited horizon and tons of open space. So I headed home to Boulder.
I didn’t have a plan for my column this week. Sure, I had many ideas queued up. But I was burnt out on Aspen. I needed some time away and it seemed like everyone else around me shared my sentiments — because living in Aspen doesn’t mean always staying in the 81611. Sometimes, life in Aspen means sprinting as far away from that zip code as possible.
I came to this realization in the passenger’s seat of a high school friend’s car last weekend while driving on the highway next to the open spaces surrounding Boulder. The bright sun seemed to evaporate all of my anxieties for the future as I stuck my feet out the window and let the Front Range breeze sift through my hair. We blasted any song that my iPhone 5 has stored before it ran out of memory and laughed at how the years were starting to fly by. All that resonated in my mind was the sound of my steady breath as I looked over the open spaces around my city. I was home, but it was more then that: I was out of paradise and, in that moment, nothing could’ve felt better.
We have roughly a month left until the madness of summer begins. I’m looking forward to the warmer months when things liven up at the Aspen Institute with the Ideas Festival and the vino flows for Food & Wine Classic. I can almost taste that Aspen Blonde on Tuesday before heading out with friends on a community bike ride around town. I can feel the ice-cold water surrounding me after a frightening jump into the Devil’s Punchbowl.
But, for the moment, I’m going to relish in the tranquility of springtime. I’m going to take a much-needed break. And come June, I will be ready to return to paradise.
Barbara Platts, a local marketing professional, writes about the “mountain millennial culture” that she participates in every day for the Aspen Times Weekly. Reach her at email@example.com or follow her @barbaraplatts.
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