Roger Marolt: When time stands still, we ought not disturb it
It feels like there is a calm now. No energy is being expended as we hold our breaths. We wait to see what happens with the election. We watch the slow progression of the pandemic, its mass so ponderous that it turns like a large ship in a deep but narrow channel. Even the last lingering summer visitors left last week after a brief cold spell. Life isn’t just lunch in the mall under the sun and cruising to Maroon Bells on an e-bike.
I can’t get worked up at the moment. I don’t know if it is because I think I know who the next president of the United States will be or that I suddenly feel more pity than anger for the maskless defenders of freedom who truly are rebels without clues. There is nothing left to say to possibly change anyone’s mind, so I have put my high horse out to pasture with a blanket strapped over it and I ride my mountain bike instead. There is more urgency in this. The days are getting shorter, but the trails are not. I still have to see the ones I haven’t this summer.
We are in a curiosity dry spell, one in which no idea gets water and meme weeds provide the only greenery on the doubt-singed landscape. We are tired of debates in which nothing is debated. We are tired of Facebook arguments that we have dismissed dozens of times already. We are tired of expressing our own opinions that float elegantly, beautifully like yellow leaves through the autumn air below a clear blue sky only to land on the perfectly manicured lawn of a neighbor to be unceremoniously raked up after moldering for awhile and then hauled to the landfill for composting.
I like all of this. It is the offseason I have been looking forward to. I didn’t think it was coming this year, another covid cancellation, but it has arrived.
The best part about existing in a time and place where nothing much happens is that the road to the past, which is easily traveled back and forth, to and from places of familiarity, remains wide open. We go back to the good stuff, the times that the soul’s substance is made from. The potholes and ditches are easy to avoid. They’ve knocked our steering out of alignment before. At the same time, there are few compelling reasons to head out on the unknown road to the future. October is not a month for speculation. It exists for reflection. Those who don’t understand this are on a beach now.
Offseasons in Aspen are not about beauty any more than a cup of coffee is about flavor. If you are not addicted, there is only a bitter taste and nothing nourishing. And yet, once you acquire the taste for the color brown, crave the acrid aroma that signals an imminent awakening, and anticipate a burst of energy that hits you as you perform the enjoyable task of something as simple as reading the morning paper with time to spare, then you know that life is better with it than without. There is a sublime gorgeousness to a day in the barrenness of late fall that takes your breath away with deep, cleansing sighs.
I often say that I am not ready for winter, even though I know I rarely tell a bigger lie. Mountain people are always ready for winter. It is losing autumn that makes our hearts ache for a bit. The offset confuses our senses. We know not what we utter in thoughtless banter.
We cannot see the wind and so we have not much idea what it is, other than sensation. It is the same with the seasons. We know what each leaves in its path and are left to understand their personalities by the rearrangements they make of the landscape. We know them casually. Most of the year they spend elsewhere. The intrigue is what keeps us looking forward to their annual visits.
Fall slings the sun across the sky like a shortstop firing a ball to first base. Winter makes quick flips of it hoping for short innings. Summer tosses it in long arches across the outfield before the game, loosening its arm after a spring of stretching and strengthening. We relate the seasons to what we know. We honestly know little. It’s why late fall is an enticing mystery to study thoroughly.
Roger Marolt feels stuck in time. What an incredible break! Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.