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Crested Butte, CO, does not have home mail delivery service. Rather, everyone in town has a PO box that they can check as often, or as rarely, as it suits them. Perhaps related, the postal employees seem to be a pretty laid back, happy bunch. Their relaxed vibe became even more apparent when I found the sticker below plastered onto the old steel refrigerator at the RMBL cabin.

A calm place to write. A view that doesn’t stop. Hot water and hope. This is home for the next four days. I am deeply indebted to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory for offering space without any expectation. This is going to be good.


I woke up at six this morning, made coffee, read and wrote notes for three hours, took care of office work, ate a peach, a banana, some strawberries, a handful of dry cereal, went to the library, stared at the screen, went to the office in the attic of what I’m pretty sure used to be a brothel, got a splinter from the sheet of plywood I set up as a desk, wrote for another three hours, had a cookie, a cup of coffee, wrote some more, called a friend, called a parent, came back to the house, stood over the sink and ate a salad of mostly spinach and broccoli, weighed the pros and cons of making a press pot of coffee at 9:30 at night, had some juice instead, and then sat back down in front of the keys. I figure I have another two hours in me before rinse, wash, repeat for the next seven days. Bad habits die hard and big projects bring them out like nothing else.

Summer is far from over, and already I’m dreaming of winter. I’m thinking about moving to a new ski town, a place where I can cut my teeth on pitches greater than 45 degrees. I’m riding bikes and running, not because it’s fun — it is — but to get my legs and lungs ready for big ups and big downs. I’m smelling the night breeze, looking for frost in the morning, and reading Powder magazine.

Writer Ryan Dunfee recently wrote a piece about leaving the snow and mountains of the west and moving back east for a woman. Right in the middle of the essay Dunfee mentions the “only piece of life advice that I’ve ever felt was important to follow…” After reading it, I thought he’s on to something. Maybe you’ll think so, too.

Here it is.

Write down where you want to be in five, 10, and 20 years. Start with what kind of place you want to be in, what you want your weekends to be like, what kind of flexibility you think you’d need in your life, and what kind of activities, both in work and outside, you can’t see yourself not doing.

In the first few days of August, you’ll wake up and it will feel different. You’ll search under the bed and find your slippers among the dust bunnies. You’ll still take your coffee out to the porch, but first you’ll pull on a puffy tugging the zipper up to your chin. Looking thru the steam rising off your cup you’ll think you see gold way up high on the hill, just a few early Aspens showing their color at 9,500 feet. It’s too early you’ll think, but later dripping sweat as you climb dusty single track, you get a close-up. Leaves that were green yesterday, today flutter yellow in the breeze coming off the ridge. Staring at them you know. It’s coming.

That’s the Taylor River in southwest Colorado up there. The little figure in the white hat on the left side of the frame high-sticking a 4-wt fly rod is me. The sky is that color because a thunderstorm has just passed through the valley, and while the noise and lightning are over, the clouds are still thinning causing refractions in the sun’s setting rays. Moments earlier a double rainbow filled the sky, but a unicorn never came. Only trout after trout after trout. Feasting on mayflies tied with feathers and string. It was full dark before we thought to wade back across, and then still it was one more cast. Just one more. The bats swooped around our shoulders as we slipped and slid on hidden river rocks back to the side where we’d left the keys, the car, the phones, the day behind.


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