Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We've got three more weeks of "official" spring before the summer solstice of June 21st, but Memorial Day weekend pretty much does it for me. It's summer.

The kids are out of school, and the house, in the small space of time since the kids have been out of school, is becoming an increasing mess.  The grocery bill seems to immediately go up, the laundry multiplies exponentially even though summer clothes take up a lot less washer space, and the internal clocks somehow magically reset themselves so that getting up "early" means any time before 10:00 a.m.

Ah, to have one more summer like that, those long lazy days stretching out in front of one another.

I will admit that yesterday I was not aware that I had the day off. Somewhere in between the last two months of being off kilter, coupled with the knowledge that most holidays are not holidays for service departments. meant I got up yesterday morning, logged in, and started doing my morning printing. It wasn't until about 10:00 that my manager kindly pointed out via IM (after I'd asked her a work related question) that, um, you know, you do actually have the day off.

The time it took me to get off the computer and into the mountains was under an hour.

Between Saturday and yesterday, I've gotten enough of a taste of that Colorado sunshine after an interminable winter of anxiety and recovery, that I'm thinking something epic needs to happen over the next three months.

I've played with the idea of beginning to bag the Colorado 14ers, but in all honesty, this doesn't thrill my soul and I think I've finally gotten to the place where I can admit why:

There aren't any trees and streams up there.

from the top of Mt. Evans (which you can drive!)

You set out very early so you can reach the summit before the afternoon so you can make your descent ahead of those infamous Colorado summer mountain storms that sweep in many afternoons. And it's all to make vertical ascents of half a mile to a mile or more up on foot above the tree line. Have you seen pictures of the 14er peaks? The entire point of them is to see off into forever with your head in the clouds. I get it. But I'm always distracted at the expanse of the color gray. There is no vegetation, no sweet spot to rest in the shade of a tree, just you and the rocks and a great view of the sky stretching out across more gray rocks.

Yes, yes, I get the whole man against nature thing of getting your body to the top of the highest peaks in the thin air and screaming out "I'm king of the world!" like every other hiker before you (and beside you) does. I get it. It just doesn't particularly appeal to me. The goats are cool, though.

I would much rather spend the day hiking down below the tree line, discovering the leaves and flowers and logs and streams that make the world so . . .  hospitable.

I feel a camping trip calling me. And a whole lot of river hikes. Between this surgery with all of its worry about whether I'd be spending the summer in chemotherapy, and the belief that I would be moving back to the hellacious summer heat of Texas about now instead of spending it in my beloved Colorado, I have decided this summer is a gift that I am not about to squander.

I am plotting out the weekends of my epic summer.

And summer starts now.


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