Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
How did you sleep last night?
If you can’t sleep well here in Aspen, especially in the summertime, you are probably the kind of person who simply doesn’t sleep well anywhere. And that’s a pity.
Each night, depending upon where you choose to lay your head in this valley, you will be surrounded by the quiet. Sure, there are some in-town lofts and the occasional condo where the sounds of the city may find their way to your sleepy head. Up here in the mountains, mostly, what you’ll hear is the dead calm.
If you’re real lucky you might live by a stream. Nothing enhances sleep more than the constant, consistent, hypnotic flow of water outside your door. The lapping of waves upon the seashore is nice, but the peaceful sound of water as it tumbles downward, tugged ever so slightly by gravity, bouncing off smooth rocks on its inexorable journey to some far-off sea ” or Las Vegas ” is intoxicating.
Listen to the sky here at night and you might hear the sub-silent sound of the slow turn of the earth under the stars. Lie outside in the open air one night and look to the heavens. The stars seem to float, ever so slowly from dusk, from one side of the night, to dawn on the other. But it is we here on earth who are doing the actual turning, not the sky.
Those wonderful time-lapse photos of the sky show it best, with their images of the thin white lines, each one the image of a solitary star, as the earth turns beneath them.
But the real secret to the softness of a mountain night is the cool, cool air. In most of the country a summer night’s sleep is accompanied by the swooshing sound of an air conditioner as it pumps in the artificially chilled breezes that have circulated through a machine. Pity those folks in the big cities of the east or along the Gulf Coast or in Florida or, god forbid, Phoenix, who never feel the evening breeze waft over their pillows because it is just too damn hot.
Not here. Here you can leave the window open wide if you have enough quilts or downy comforters. Or you can crack it just an inch or so. We live in a place where the nighttime temperatures in the summertime are almost always in the 50s, sometimes in the 40s if you live high enough. Perfect sleeping weather.
And don’t forget the sense of peace and serenity that fills the air up here in the hinterlands. Aside from a lonely coyote and the rare, but oh-so-exciting rumble of a bear in your pantry, there is nearly nothing that should cause you to stir and/or panic in the middle of a mountain night. Sirens, trash trucks making early morning pickups, car alarms, revelers leaving the bars, those are the sounds that others will toss and turn to in the middle of the dark night as they hide their heads under the pillows hoping to fade faster back into their dreams. Not us.
Here in Aspen we have the quiet, the coolness and the calm of a mountain night to look forward to at the end of each day.
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