Exodus | AspenTimes.com


Paul E. Anna

It has already begun. The emptying of Aspen.In a ritual as familiar as the melting of snow in the Rockies, the citizens of the Roaring Fork Valley are making their way away. Cars are topped off. Flights are booked. Trains are … oh yeah, we voted against the trains. But you get the picture. It is get-out-of-Dodge time, and for many, it is not a minute too soon.Come Sunday afternoon anyone standing by the side of the road will bear witness to a steady stream of vehicles loaded to the gills with grills and bikes, tents and sleeping bags, as folks head to the dust and dirt of Moab. If you happen by the airport the scene will be reminiscent of the final days of the U.S. occupation of Vietnam as people scurry for seats on the last plane out.In most places, people go on vacation to get away from the humdrum of ordinary life. To leave behind the job, the kids, the house, all the things that they put up with so they can occasionally get two weeks in an expensive, simulated paradise. We, on the other hand, actually live in a real paradise, albeit one that is frightfully expensive.So what is our excuse? Why the rush to leave?OK, it does get a little muddy this time of year, and, yes, the restaurants close early. But most folks would love to come to Aspen during mud season. The Chamber even goes as far as to tout April and October as the “bargain seasons.”But still, once the lifts close, or summer Jazz Aspen ends, we all seem to want to leave. Maybe it is the wanderlust in us, the desire not so much to escape, but to experience something new, exciting and different. Maybe we are a town of travel junkies who just need the fix that only the next place can deliver.Ah, but no doubt we all share something else in common. Once we get to the next place, once the rush has turned into a day-to-day routine, once the exotic has morphed into a comfortable fit, we all miss the valley. We all have that moment when we wonder if the sun is out, if the grass has started to grow, if any of our friends are sitting at our favorite bar asking about us.It is the price one pays for traveling afar. And if the feeling hits you, remember to simply click your heels three times and repeat “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” It won’t take you there, but at least it will remind you …There really is no place like home.

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