Sean Beckwith: A man of all seasons
August 22, 2017
The Great American Eclipse! Yes! Do you feel like Neil deGrasse Tyson? I know I do. I had on my glasses, ate some eclipse-themed cookies, stared directly at the sun and drank cocktails until I was 92 percent blacked out, just like the sun in Aspen. Hell, yeah! Science!
False — I did none of those things, but judging from social media it was exactly what people said it was going to be: a festival of darkness right in the middle of the day. If I wanted to do that, I'd just check Donald Trump's Twitter feed.
I did get those snaps, pics, gifs, memes and videos, though. Oddly most people only took photos of themselves, which were kooky and fun. I can't imagine what anyone would look like in paper spectacles. What other phenomenon could get normal people to wear such crazy things? Oh, that's right, 3D movies. My bad.
Sorry to rain on your sun parade, but it's fun. I'm usually on the opposite side of the "if all your friends are doing it you should be doing it, too" way of thinking. To this day, I have never read "Harry Potter." It's more widely endorsed than Beyonce. Everybody loves it, which is why it's so enjoyable to demean.
I hate the movie "Rudy," as well. What a feel-good story. If I was the opposing coach I'd run off tackle right down Rudy's throat until Notre Dame was forced to pull him. I've never thought about doing a Hater's Ball column but am now strongly considering it. (I'll hold off today because there's too much hate flowing in the news already.)
But I digress. I meant to transition from eclipse to a list of personal favorite Aspen weather days.
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Close to white-out powder days
You thought I was going to say bluebird powder day, huh? Nothing scares people off the mountain like the words "poor visibility." If it's snowing sideways, that means there's free refills all day.
Bluebird powder days make me anxious. You have to get up early to get in line and you're still behind some psychos who went to bed at 7 the previous night to get first chair. Once you're on the mountain it's a literal race for first tracks.
I don't care about first tracks. I care about endless tracks. I want to feel the brink of frostbite on my cheek. Snow should accumulate on my person during lift rides. Apres at the end of the day should involve a thawing-out process.
Falling asleep and/or waking up to the sound of raindrops hitting the roof is a top-five bed-related feeling. I'm not going to give you the other four because this is a family newspaper. I have trouble falling asleep without some kind of white noise or "medication." Rain on the roof might as well be a syringe of Ambien.
If you add a lady (or guy) friend — whatever your preference — and a couple tunes from Miles Davis' blues-inspired catalog, then you're talking about a top-three bed-related feeling.
Smoke haze days
I don't ever wish for wildfires, but the light during days of passing smoke from fires farther west are straight out of "Vanilla Sky." (It's an obscure Tom Cruise movie from the 2000s that plays out like an acid trip. The sun is out but the light is almost in a constant state of late dawn or early dusk. Even writing the phrase "perpetual sunset" makes me feel like I'm in a "Star Wars" movie. The only thing cooler than one moon is multiple moons. Jupiter has 53 moons. An eclipse on Jupiter is probably called Tuesday. Shove it, science geeks.)
This is strictly a late-fall happening. It's foggy like something out of the noir genre (or "Rambo: First Blood") but with colorful trees intermittently peeking through. It also happens to be offseason during days like those and there's a comfort in walking around an empty Aspen with subpar weather, reassuring you that this place is more than a tourist paradise.
Sunny days filled with people riding beach cruisers feels like living in a Randy Newman song. Walking around the pedestrian mall with classical music as a soundtrack while children frolic in fountains reminds me of "Fantasia." I'm just waiting on an angry broom to drown me.
This isn't an Aspen-centric thing. College football Saturdays are great no matter the weather. The early slate of games is like morning cartoons for adults. Afternoon games are usually accompanied by or lead to a nap. Prime-time games are a chance to eat more fare from the grill. Then you have the late Pac-12 games that ideally feature enough offense to stave off a bratwurst-induced slumber for another beer or two.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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