Seen fire, seen rain; seen sunny days I thought would never end!

I recall a television show on the ABC channel (no relation to America’s ABC network, but rather, the Australian government service) simply called Australia you’re standing in it. I also saw tee shirts while travelling that took it a little further: Welcome to Australia; you’re standing in it! You can read into this what you want but the thought being conveyed was that well, if you are looking for something new and different well, you have come to the right place.

I was reminded of this momentarily as I looked out of my home office window. What I saw I will address a little deeper into this post but suffice to say, Colorado can almost lay claim to exactly the same sentiment. As the lock-down we all associate with the global pandemic has gradually eased and there’s more confidence among Coloradans to simply grab a mask and step outside, it’s good to see that creativity always finds a way.

Walking through the small town of Louisville in Boulder County, the main street has been closed with the pubs and cafes prospering from a new way of doing business. There are still county-dictates that mandate walking up to the host wearing a mask but once seated, inside or out, masks can be safely removed as distancing is practiced. It seems a little weird at first but then again, we are just so thankful that there is still some sense of normalcy creeping back into our lifestyles. 

We have enjoyed such an extended period of sunshine now that it’s almost a cliché to say, have a nice day! On the other hand, we have had an extended period of high temperatures with nearly all of August spent in the 90s F. July, either, wasn’t any cooler. Considering winter lingered longer this year, we weren’t all that concerned about the presence of warmer weather but then again, do nice days ever become too much of a nice thing? As the songwriter noted, sunny days do end.

With the lack of enthusiasm to travel pervading most discussions, Margo and I cannot recall a longer period of time where both of us could be found living together under the very same roof. And yes, happy. Upon returning the first week of March from our cruise on Princess to the South Pacific, we have been housebound. Worse than that, we have sadly watched one vacation and even business milestone pass by leaving us with nothing else to do than enter web sites and look for refunds. Fortunately, almost every vendor helped out, with the only exception being Iberia airlines.

While not the best choice of photo for this post, it tells its own story. Just after midday, the skies grew so dark that it was difficult to see very far. Out on the highways those cars with auto lights had them turning on and the only evidence of the presence of the sun was an eerie red spot that broke through the haze, but only occasionally. Colorado, just like California, is on fire. Lightning just happened to strike a little to the west of us, equidistant to both Ft Collins and Loveland, but the smoke plumes thickened rapidly as the fire doubled in size in a matter of hours

As evening descended, we elected not to dine outside and not to fire up the grill but to enjoy a simple pre-dinner drink followed by meatloaf, veggies and French fries, close the drapes and do what teenagers do. Just hang out with our friends, the Millers, who are almost at the end of their time with us. Jim and Dale are about to complete their move to Arizona and it’s been fun to have them around as they take that big jump from being Coloradans to being Arizonians. 

When we woke Sunday morning, every item left outside was covered in ash. Burnt pine needles could be found everywhere you turned. It was a dystopian scene reminiscent of our worst movie experiences where the end of the world was being revealed. Of course, this was not the case neither was it a time to dwell too long on all that is wrong with the world today! Later that day, the darkness continued and yet, there was still time for Margo to simply smile and be thankful that the last of our lawn food had been applied – more on that, shortly.  

Fortunately, for us Coloradans, with only minor disruptions to our lifestyles, we can still head out, relax and in general, find the time to simply sit to watch that world pass us by. We may not be standing in Australia and we may not be true Coloradans even after having lived here for more than two decades, but we can still enjoy the delights of Bondi. Not the beach, mind you, but a local bar in Ft Collins that the locals simply cannot pronounce correctly referring to it as Bind-ie and not Bond-eye!

Conversations at home of late have frequently turned to whether living in the US is our long term goal. One of the trips we had planned for 2021 that we have now cancelled was to Australia and New Zealand. While it was to be a working trip where I would continue to blog for business, it was also a time to check out
whether or not we could live in either place. It’s tempting to daydream of life by the beach where real coffee is brewed and where the wines on offer are superior to much of what is released up here, in North America.

Then again, we have become too vested in the US to make such a return to my home a possibility. Our extended stay in Sydney back in 2018 / 2019 taught us one thing and that was the Aussie $50 spent down there went about as far as a US $20 up here. That good coffee and those fine wines did come at a price and even factoring in the exchange rate, the reality is that both countries have become relatively expensive destinations. To say that we miss the dining in Sydney and indeed Auckland as well and the variety of seafood on offer, is true and yet, we have been able to feast on some really good lobster and muscles of late.

We have both been busy writing and editing articles for our digital publication,

NonStop Insider. This may not be too everyone’s taste as it’s a technical publication but if you haven’t given it a look, then maybe it’s something you might want to do. As editor in chief, Margo always writes the opening editorial and together, we are having a lot of fun pulling each issue together. I only mention this as the upcoming issue completes four years of publication and it has truly helped grow our business. 

More than that; writing can be therapeutic. In these times where thoughts about the global pandemic are never far from our minds, it’s an opportunity to pursue topics that are far removed from what we see on the news or read in the papers. With our trips all cancelled and our thoughts turning to moves overseas, it’s a relief from instability that finds a way of creeping into daily conversations. Yes, like many of you I suspect, our conversations often stray into areas that are dark, but for Margo and me, it’s only fleetingly as we are both good at coming back to what counts most of all. We have a home. We have a family, we have friends and we can still move around the countryside. And we have each other.

We have seen fire and now we see rain. Yes, today what the weather forecasters had predicted came about. From temperatures this weekend in the 90s F, there was an almost 60 F drop in temperature overnight. Awakening to early morning rain we soon saw it turn to snow. In the first weeks of September? Really? Whereas Australia, your standing in it may be a truism, Colorado, your weather will change (where all four seasons can happily happen over any 24 hour period) is definitely equally as good a truism as well.

The backyard and the furniture we have on our lower deck soon were dusted in white. For a short time, it was coming down heavily but for now and apparently for the rest of the day, we will continue to see light snow falling. As for the rest of the week, temperatures will once again climb so that by the weekend, it will be back in the 90s F. The good news is that our application of lawn food happened at exactly the right time as the overnight rain and now, the light snow, is making sure the grass gets a good feed.

We have cancelled trip after trip this year but that doesn’t mean we have ruled out travelling entirely. Having enjoyed the company of the Kennys here in Windsor only a short time ago, we have now made plans to drive to Simi Valley for a short visit - yet another bizcation if you like. Hopefully, our route will take us past the Aspens as they turn yellow even as it takes us well off the beaten path. It will be a return drive through Durango, CO, and then on to Scottsdale, AZ. It was on a July weekend way back in 1993 that Margo and I together with colleague, Brad Poole, traveled almost this exact route as we took the license to extend a business trip to simply enjoy a road trip together.

To think that this was almost thirty years ago is mind-boggling. Then again, the seasons come and go and time becomes our enemy. That trip back to Australia and New Zealand that we had planned was to mark passing of a major life milestone, but even as we cancelled it, we knew that we couldn’t cancel that inevitable transition. In a blog post I asked the question as to whether with age came wisdom or whether it simply meant we were getting old and among the responses was the comment that old wise people derived wisdom from what had been. Today, it’s more important to have new wisdom than anything else so I guess I have to own up the fact that wisdom has escaped me and yes, I am simply old.

“You don’t stop racing when you get old; you get old when you stop racing.” This simple truth appeared in my twitter feed and it was what prompted me to write this post. Margo and I no longer spend time on the track even as we both admit that we miss the social aspect of club outings but when a pickup towing a racecar passes by we both get a tad misty eyed in seeing someone else heading out. However, what hasn’t left us is the thought process that takes place as we consider future vehicles – do they have an infotainment center or soft leather seats or even ease of access?

For both of us it’s about the driveability, the handling and the overall performance of the car. Even as the snow abates and we look out onto the driveway and think about which car we will take on our upcoming trip to Simi Valley there really isn’t all that much to discuss. It’s got to be the BMW M4 Competition. Will have to get the snow off the car, of course, but we have grown very fond of this car and come sunshine, we will be back on the road. And we will have to keep watching those weather forecasts in case this foretaste of winter turns into a regular occurrence.

Yes, over these past few weeks, we have seen it all. We have seen fires ravish our forests and sunshine that has baked the black top. We have even seen hard rains that turned to snow. But with each change we saw, there was an unmistakable end. All we can do now, thank goodness, is to look ahead to the drive and trust we will see nothing but sunny days ahead, yet again. 


Richard said…
And to think that after all these years, this is the 175th post to our social blog, Buckle-Up!
Bill said…
Glad those singed pine needles didn't spread the fire to your backyard!

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