David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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MY LATEST COLUMN IN THE ALLENSPARK WIND: One quarter of the U.S. population lives alone, more than 50 million people. When I was young I lived alone for less than two years and then I lived with my wife and children for 52 years. Living alone presents a number of challenges, and those are greater here in our mountains. We have a number of people here who live a solitary life. Most of my local friends live without others most of the time. Learning to live that way takes, I’ve found, a certain amount of courage. One has to live with the prospect of being injured or just dropping dead and not being found for what could be a very long time. I’ve had almost two years of living alone and I’ve developed a sort of devil-may-care attitude toward what might go wrong. Still, I’ve become, if not more cautious, aware that slicing my hand instead of the bagel is still possible and the result would be a problem. So I think about the dangers of living alone and I try to be careful about the more dreadful possibilities like falling. On the other hand, there are a number of compensations, not the least of which is that I can be quite selfish. I can get in the car and go anywhere, any time, without asking permission. I can work undisturbed except for a treat-begging cat. I can’t be harassed by anyone complaining I haven’t done something. I do have some deadlines, meetings, and other obligations, but since I’m elderly I get a pass if I opt out. I have traveled quite a bit, but not much in the past few years. Now I can travel and visit some of the places I missed the first time around. I suppose everyone who lives solo, by choice or circumstance, deals with it according to all of the parameters of their lives. They might be lonesome or they might enjoy solitude. They might seek out a social group. They might look for someone to live with or they might concentrate on their work. They might enjoy being able to choose companions. They might want to write a memoir. They might just enjoy their freedom. Or they might fall in love. As long as we’re alive there are always possibilities. Living alone doesn’t mean isolation for many millions; friends and family are just a few clicks away, unless you live here and don’t have Internet access. It’s a little inconvenient, but access is available and The Old Gallery provides, with its many programs, more than just the Internet. There’s the old saying that all you need in life is someone to love and something to do. That may not be everything but it’s certainly true that those things are a large part of a purposeful life. Many of us live alone because we outlived someone we loved. Like most people in that position I have had my “What do I do now” moments, but I have children and their families whom I love, and almost without trying I have plenty to do. Traveling is still a vacation and I often feel I need a vacation. Time and gravity take their toll on nearly everyone. Everyone who lives here eventually leaves for lower altitude, with relatives or assisted living. Otto and Margaret Walter were exceptions, and there have been some others. Most of us, if we live long enough, have to leave. Most readers of the Wind have seen it happen. It happened to my grandfather, my father, my mother and if I live long enough it will be my turn. This summer I will have plenty of company as my family comes to our valley for their vacations. I still love what grandfather called his paradise: the intense blue sky, the view, the sounds of the brook and children playing, the smell of the pines. My cabin turns 98 this year. Just that will give me plenty to do, so my summer will be full and purposeful. I’m taking a vacation in Germany in the fall. I will be by myself. I’m looking forward to that, as well.

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

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