A year ago today, I was in Aspen with my husband. We had taken a long car trip out West, driving from Chicago to Colorado and arriving in Aspen at dusk on Labor Day, just as the town was emptying out.
With the vacation season ending, we pretty much had our choice of accommodations and ended up in this famous old place, the Hotel Jerome. It’s right on the main street in the center of town and dates back to the time when Aspen was known for mining, and mining alone.
The hotel had a great “old West” feeling and was very comfortable, like a lived-in museum. There was a lot of old furniture in our rooms, but it was all very usable and inviting, just like this lobby.
My husband really likes to travel, and I’m happy enough to go along. The prospect of travel always strikes me as disruptive—I love the continuity and sameness of home life. On the other hand, it’s lucky to have the freedom to go around and see new things when the opportunity comes.
So it was with this trip. I saw and experienced much that was wonderful. I learned about mountain driving (which I’d never done and found kinda sickening) and saw northeastern Colorado, Glenwood Canyon, Denver, and Aspen for the first time. While we were exploring Aspen, we visited the Maroon Bells and drove through Independence Pass when we left town. That drive up to the pass was one of the gutsiest things I’d ever done, but the Pass was otherworldly, almost ethereally beautiful, making me glad to have overcome my fears.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the past, so much so that certain times of the year, like this one, have auras of memory, of happy and sad times, relationships beginning and ending, just like the seasons. Twelve years ago today I was recovering from an appendectomy. Seven years ago I was falling in love. Many more years ago than that, I was on an unhappy honeymoon. September memories are among the strongest, anchoring me in time in a way that is both comforting and strained.