Before the snow falls
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I’ve never lived in a place where winter has such a big personality. With those snowy months barreling down on us, I can’t help but want to savor every last moment of fall. I feel it’s my duty, our duty, to get out into world and explore it before travel becomes a bit more perilous.
Last weekend, that’s just what I did.
For about $70, I bought three days of freedom in the form of a rental car with a chipped windshield. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that I just had to go. I had heard about Paonia’s Harvest Festival, that 48-hour musical celebration in one of my favorite towns. So I just headed south.
Of course Highway 133 was beautiful. The foliage was full of neons and golds and greens, and it took my breath away. I wanted to stop but didn’t. I felt the heart of the weekend was ahead for me.
When I got to Paonia, I had little intention of staying. I just wanted to see it, take it in and mosey on down the road. I walked the main drag and stopped to watch a wedding, complete with fiddle music and a happy, informal audience. As I stood there entranced, my friend Helen Highwater (one the lead singers from that faux ’60s band, the Strolling Scones) walked up to me and handed me a wrist band for that night’s musical festivities. That evening there were four featured venues downtown and dozens of music acts, and it was already sold out.
And she was letting me get in for free.
Needless to say, I stayed out late. As I walked from venue to venue, I felt like I was doing an adult version of trick-or-treating. Everything was exciting. Everything was timely. I’d watch something for 10 minutes or half an hour, get all saturated with a certain musical style and then move on. I had my favorites, like the hyper, Celtic FEAST, the earthy Porchlights and (of course) the psychedelic, fun Scones. But more than anything, I just loved the entire atmosphere of the thing. It was so completely unexpected. I met friendly people and made connections, took some risks and had far-fetched fantasies of moving to that little town.
That night, as I went to sleep on the Scones’ floor, I had this rush of appreciation. I felt grateful for my car, my hosts, for Paonia, for the welcoming vibe of the whole weekend. I was so thankful to be out of town for a while. I felt surrounded by options. I drifted off, thinking of all the places I could visit the next day.
The world feels so much bigger when I don’t need snow tires to see it.
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