Paul E. Anna: High Points |

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

As I live under the flight path of the planes that take off daily from Sardy Field, I can get an aural sense of what is taking place in the valley on any given day.

That is to say, when things are hoppin’, like right before and after Christmas or around the opening and closing events of the Aspen Ideas Festival, the traffic is manic – planes coming and going from dawn to dusk. When a storm hits and the airport closes for a day or so, there is a welcome silence in the skies and I can sense that upvalley in the terminal, there is thriving angst as passengers fret and moan and the gate agents scramble to rebook.

Anyway, using that audio experience I can tell you that this is the quietest, ergo: The slowest, time of year here in the skies above the Roaring Fork Valley. The “heavy metal,” those private birds that bring the billionaires to town, have gone away for the offseason to where ever it is that they go. American has ceased its seasonal operations and United is down to just six takeoffs a day and soon it will winnow to four. You’ve heard of the Quiet Years? Well for the next month or so we have the Quiet Weeks.

Each morning I hear the first plane out as it crests my hill shortly after 7 a.m. I roll back over and retire to dreamland with visions of the people who are on it, heading out of the valley to their offseason vacation haunts. I wonder if there are folks on the plane that I know (inevitably there are), who are on their way to fun in the sun on some Hawaiian or Costa Rican beach, or off to an exciting European capital filled with parks, cafes and exotic foods.

Alas, this offseason, for one of the few times in recent years, I have no travel plans and I will be staying here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Not that it is a bad place to be, mind you, especially in an offseason that is expected to have more sun than mud, which is not always the case in late April and early May. A bit of biking, perhaps a trip to Moab or two will make it pay off, of course, and I’m looking forward to heading to Carbondale next week for a session or two of the 5Point Film Festival.

But I can’t help but feel a little envious of those intrepid travelers who sit in those steel tubes, flying out of the Aspen airport each morning on the first flight, the first leg of their travel adventures. As I hear them fly by, I whisper a quiet, “bon voyage” and then pet the dog and turn over to catch an extra 20 minutes of sleep. Sigh.

For all of you who have reservations on the flights out this week and next, be sure to have a great time. We’ll look forward to hearing tales of times away and places visited.

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