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Approach of Autumnal Equinox leaves feeling of imbalance
It may seem, from this webcam shot of Loveland Ski Area, that ski season is still a distant dream, but in fact it is only a matter of weeks before this lift is cranking and these slopes become white.

Approach of Autumnal Equinox leaves feeling of imbalance

By Tom Boyd

September 2, 2008 —  At exactly 3:44 p.m. on September 22, 2008, the globe will once again reach its bi-annual position of supreme balance. That moment, the Autumnal Equinox, is the exact click of the clock when the tug-of-war between winter and summer is in perfect deadlock, the air is crisp and cool, and the length of day almost exactly equals the length of night.

And, as I learned in sixth grade from Ms. Macsata, people around the globe will be able to balance eggs upright on their kitchen tables or, as the case may be, on their sixth grade writing desks.

The balance seems to have an effect on my brain and body, too, and perhaps that’s part of the reason why autumn is, without much doubt, my favorite time of the year. Beyond the often-mentioned beauty of the changing leaves, and the scent of their decay on the forest floor, fall is also the time when the temperate most-often reaches sunny-and-60-degree perfection. It’s also hunting season for grouse, elk, and mushrooms, and probably the time when I spend the most time camping, hiking, hunting and fishing in general. Football season begins again, and once in a while the entire family will converge on grandma’s house for a Broncos game and a batch of her world-famous elk chili.

But I’m not ready for all that. I’m not ready for balance, nor to let go of hot August days or summer’s shorts-and-sandals dress code. I’m already lamenting the loss of lush greens, which won’t return again until the very, very, faraway June, and I’m not ready to plunge into the endless Christmas which signifies winter in the Vail Valley.

It’s not really autumn I’m resisting, but the winter which follows.

I know, I know, as a ski writer and a Colorado kid I’m supposed to be drooling at the bit, chomping at the thought of wintertime, when I can finally unleash my boards onto the endless acres of powder in Colorado’s high country. But that’s not how it works. It takes time, it takes transition. Many of us need a few months of autumn – preferably warm months – to remember what it is we love so much about being buried in white-ice most of our year, drying out our cold, wet socks every evening, and wrapping ourselves in heavy layers of confining clothing just to run out to get something we forgot in the car.

For me, this transition requires a few ski-movie premiers, a few hours at the Ski Swap this coming October, and a bit of time spent tuning my teles, smelling the wax of the ski-shop one more time. When Loveland and A-Basin open up this October, it will help to get out and smell the fresh air of the mountains in winter, and feel the bite of winter play against my face as I outrun the masses on the inevitably thin white ribbons of early season.

By then, I’ll be ready. As for now, my metaphorical egg remains unable to balance upright, leaning, as it does, toward the barefoot days of summer.



Comment on article  1 Comment on "Approach of Autumnal Equinox leaves feeling of imbalance"


Reid — September 2, 2008

Ahh how true, my good friend Paul Rush (of Pauly's Plunge Fame) told me years ago when I was a young buck yearning for face shots and cliffs to huck. He said "Reid, there's a lot of time left in the fall, weeks until ski season even stars." But once the golf courses closed and blustery northern winds whipped through the empty valley, I was ready to ski. What I didn't realize was there was time for the brown trout spawn, green chili and Bronco's games. Time to break out the down comforters and put away the Berkinstocks. I was a twenty something back then and couldn't wait to shred the pow! But as I've learned in recent years, when October comes, we here in Happy Valley still have six weeks to wait for skiing (at least) and what better way to spend those weeks by fishing, biking, and watching. Happy (almost) Fall. Reid



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