Saturday, August 1

For weeks now, between Nebraska and Colorado, I have been operating at a heat-induced cognitive deficit. I am never not sweating.

It’s the first day of August, and the first of August around here seems to me like the undeniable beginning of the end of Summer, which of course is the Summer-est part of Summer. The part where, even in a wet year, things begin to dry and curl at the edges. And somehow where the morning’s cool air begins to suggest the turn back into sweatshirts and stocking caps.

Between the Bar I Hate Most In The World Among Bars I Still Visit Like Once A Week and my tiny, weird little neighborhood, the Main Street tourist traffic to Estes Park is a relentless stream. Not quite wall to wall, but I count maybe 20 cars in a minute. It’s like this for most of the day in the thick of vacation season; simpleminded calculator math says that’s, what, half a million cars over the summer?

That could be true. Someone probably knows the real number. It’s a lot, anyway. It’s simultaneously the human life’s blood of this little place and one edge of a tide converting the Front Range into a megalopolis. And the Rockies into the jagged, picturesque graveyard of an ecology.

Not that I can say much. I came here, after all, and stayed. From a region my ancestors had already spent generations laying to row-cropped waste. I wish you’d all stop moving to Colorado, but then you don’t see me absenting myself from the place.

I went to Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Some decades from now, given the water and the oil hold, I assume that the zone bounded by Colorado Springs on the south, the mountains on the west, Ft. Collins on the north, and I-25 on the east will probably look a lot like LA County.

I guess there are worse fates for a murdered landscape. At least maybe by then we’ll have In-N-Out Burger.