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The summer people have arrived, and there are many changes.
Meeker Park Lodge now has a stack of Denver Posts every Sunday. There are lots more places to get pictures developed and checks cashed. Charles Eagle Plume’s Indian artifacts are selling like pirated software. The traffic, of course, is terrible, and we’re having the usual arguments about who should be able to park where. It’s hard to imagine grid lock in Estes Park, but maybe it’ll happen on the 4th of July.
We already have grid-lock in the aisles of all our markets.
During the winter I could get my dry cleaning back in three days; now it’s a week from Tuesday. People are driving like mad up and down the dirt roads, raising rooster tails of dust. The mailman is a little later than usual, and I’m seeing a lot of square dance costumes and fishing poles. Harry Bath has his Rain Birds going full blast, and his lawn is easily the finest in several square miles. It’s also the only one in several square miles.
Some of the summer folks near me took me on an excursion to view a clump of calypso orchids, also known as fairy slippers. This is the only time of the year you can see them, like the pasque flowers, and you really have to know where to look. Once I saw them, of course, I saw them in many places and wondered why I’d never seen them before. Life is like that.
For those among us who are and always have been summer people, of course, there are no changes; things are the way they have always been. They see the streetscape and they’ll enjoy the new street lights, but they don’t share in the anguish and soul searching and plain hard work that made it happen.
I was one of those people for a great many years, so I can watch the arrival of the summer people with a sense of sharing, because I share their sense of excitement and delight at being back, as I used to feel it.
Those of us who went through a very bad winter share something else, of course, and it’s something the summer people can’t really understand. The changing of the seasons brings more than just the opening of Trail Ridge, the swelling of the streams, and the blossoming of spring flowers. It brings a whole new group of people to our mountains, and while they may know we had a winter, they just can’t imagine the difference between January and June on Elkhorn Avenue.
Looking at it now, crowded with sunburned people and new trees, I can’t remember January very well myself, but I’m glad it’s June and the summer people are here.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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