High Points: The sound of silence

Paul E. Anna
High Points

So did you hear it all of this week? Or I guess a better question is, did you not hear it all of this week?

For four days, from Sunday afternoon until this morning, Sardy Field at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport was shuttered to traffic. No flights were allowed in or out. The roar of jets was silenced as crews took to the tarmac to paint the lines and update the runways for future traffic.

Now, if you, like me, live within earshot of our local air traffic, on any given day you can set your watch to the scheduled take–off and landings that fill the sky with the hum of the engines. Each morning shortly after dawn, I can hear the sound of the first flights out on United. It is part of the rhythm of each morning. And I have to say I don’t mind it at all. Oh, yeah, occasionally I’ll get a rumble from an older private jet that exceeds the noise levels. But for the most part, the gentle shoooooooosh of the jet engines as the planes take off to their assorted destinations is kind of a soothing reminder that there is a broader world out there.

And this past weekend I made my initial foray out into said “broader world” since the beginning of the pandemic with trips to Kansas City and Los Angeles. Let me tell you, it’s weird out there. The pace of both cities has slowed to a crawl. And Los Angeles in particular felt like something out of “Blade Runner.” Kind of post-apocalyptic with all of the smoke. Neither city exhibited much of the charm that made visiting both joys in the past.

So it was that I was happy to get back to Denver on a warm and reasonably clear Monday morning. Even if it meant the closure of Sardy Field would require a rent-a car ride back to Aspen. I opted to take the long way ‘round, as is my custom, and avoid the interstate. The back road on Hwy 285 to Independence Pass may take 45 minutes longer, but it is much more mellow and affords some awesome vistas.

I have to say the highlight of my travels was getting back out on the highway and the drive up the Pass. If Sardy had not closed, my lot would have been just another masked United flight, but thanks to the fortuitous closure I was able to get a Colorado late-summer cruise in.

The airport reopens for scheduled service today, no doubt making most travelers happy that they don’t have to hoof it to Denver for their connections.

But me, I didn’t mind the ride. It was actually a High Point.