Janet Urquhart: Nice to be reminded how lucky we are
Every once in a while, it’s good to view Aspen through a fresh set of eyes.
I went overboard and had seven sets of eyes, attached to seven bodies, stay at my apartment for the weekend. While an old friend and her family got a glimpse of my life here, I got a glimpse of it, too.
Apparently, the difference in lifestyles between a family of six (traveling with an extra teenager just for good measure) and a single adult can be summed up by opening the refrigerator door.
The orderly provisions and unoccupied space in my fridge came as something of a shock to a woman who has known me since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t sure why, as it was well-stocked compared to its normally barren state.
I had a better understanding after she went shopping for her family. We had trouble getting the refrigerator door closed.
We’ve known each other since the first day of fifth grade, when, as strangers, we sat down next to each other; but our lives couldn’t be more different. She has four teenage boys; I have a houseplant. She has a house; I have a houseplant. She has a husband; I have a houseplant. You get the idea.
They live in Minnesota and we rarely see each other. She was anxious to escape her mountains of laundry for real mountains and spend a few days with me before the dirty laundry and the boys inside of it arrived in the family van.
Oddly, I didn’t so much show them Aspen as they showed me Aspen. (We didn’t spend a lot of time at my apartment, as it looked a lot like my fridge when we all squeezed inside and tried to close the door.)
The boys kept a running tally of Range Rover sightings and were absolutely floored when they topped 40 or so in the space of a couple of hours. I never even notice them.
Their parents, meanwhile, kept gushing over the beauty of the mountains, expressing amazement over the way Aspen Mountain drops right into town and drawing my attention to the craggy magnificence of Shadow Mountain. For all the times I’ve admired it myself, I’ve looked at it without really noticing it just as often.
They couldn’t get over the flowers everywhere, but Dad finally concluded it was the abundance of trees in town that was most impressive.
We spent much of Saturday up at the Grottos on Independence Pass – a place I’ve passed by countless times without stopping to explore because the parking lot always looked too crowded.
I followed the kids up the trail to the cave where a block of ice defies summer in its cool chamber. I was as amazed as they were.
Egged on by boys with no body fat, I pulled off my shirt and leaped off a ledge into water so cold it stole my breath despite the heat of the afternoon. We spent the day scampering around on the rocks and playing in the river.
Why had I never been here? It took a group of Midwesterners to show me my own back yard.
I was repeatedly informed that I am “so lucky” – a reminder we could all use once in a while.
[Janet Urquhart’s apartment seemed awfully quiet after they left. Her column appears on Fridays]
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