Lum: Another summer — woosh, flash |

Lum: Another summer — woosh, flash

I’ve always said that if you want to extend your life, move to New Jersey, where six months will feel like six years. By the same token, if you want to speed things up, spend a summer in Aspen, where three months will zip past like three weeks or maybe three days.

This summer, the town seemed more like a zoo than ever, with some kind of event taking over the streets or the parks every weekend: art shows, Earth Day, ARE Days, EcoFest, ducky days, outdoor concerts and various races.

Most of these are worthy events, but every weekend, some park or street is off-limits, making us wonder when or if it will ever stop getting bigger and bigger each summer.

This afternoon, I watched the bike race on TV, sequestered in my miner’s shack to avoid the street closures, and tomorrow morning I will watch in person as the riders streak past my house and on up over the pass. I like the sound of the wheels, but I won’t be sorry to see them go — not because of the race itself but because of all the racers who arrived here weeks in advance to practice the route and get used to the altitude. They were whizzing everywhere, often in packs, and I’m surprised there were no fatalities.

Whatever happened to the 20-mph speed limit? Apparently stoplights aren’t the only things bikers are licensed to flout. I was approaching the Mill and Main light when five men on racing bikes came flying at me, cutting the corner. If I had been closer to the intersection, I’d have had some new dents on my old Beetle.

Speaking of speed limits, there’s a crude sign just before the Castle Creek bridge saying the limit is 20 mph, and then right on the other side is an electronic sign flashing your speed that says the limit is 25 mph. I think 20 mph is too slow to be realistic, but all it would take is a big black “0” written on white poster board covering the “5” on the electronic sign, just to be consistent. I’m sure the Department of Transportation isn’t in any thumping hurry to change it.

Or just remove the tacky electronic sign.

To me, the best thing about Aspen in the summer is the weather. As soon as the days start getting longer, I forget all about renting my house and spending the winter in Hawaii or the Caribbean, and then, bang, it’s too late again.

Aspen is greener than I’ve seen it in years, thanks to the almost-daily rainstorms. Usually by this time of year my lawn looks like a sandbox. Mary Jaffe gave me some special grass seeds to make it even better — I’ll report on that when the results are in.

My friend Hilary planted a million bulbs and broadcast a billion wildflower seeds as well as tending beds of shelling peas and fava beans. We learned our lesson with tomatoes and zucchini, saving the precious space for the peas and favas, which you can’t get at the farmers market.

My raspberry patch is going great guns, and we haven’t seen a single bear. Strangely, even during the summers of bear infestations, they have never gone after the raspberries.

Too quick, too soon, it’s over. Look to the hills and you will see that the leaves are beginning to turn.

Su Lum is a longtime local who isn’t eager for snow. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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