As August comes to a close this week, there is a hint of fall in the air. Fall is probably my favorite time of year here in Colorado. I love the cooler nights and beautiful warm days. When I was younger, I always loved school starting up and wearing all my new clothes. I love fall fashion- boots, light jackets and scarves. The leaves begin to turn gold and red, football has returned and the season itself is just cozy. I don’t so much like the days getting shorter but us Coloradans are so very lucky we get so many sunny days per year, more sunny days than Arizona! In fact, people who don’t live in Colorado, often think Colorado is just a year long ski season (like lots of snow,) but if you don’t live in a mountain town over 9000 feet, you are likely to experience pretty amazing whether up until Thanksgiving, and very mild winters. On any given morning, you can see a foot of snow outside and the sun will melt it away and you would never have known it snowed at all by lunch. I have personally been witness to sitting outside by the pool, on a 75 degree day, then by the time I headed back into my apartment, and looked out my sliding door, a snow storm is brewing, snowflakes and all, while Im standing there in my bathing suit, in June.
Since I grew up here in Colorado, and a small mountain town at that, I always swore as soon as I was able, I would live somewhere there wasn’t snow. I couldn’t stand dealing with the cold, and even more so driving in it. So after college, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Now I did enjoy the year long warm weather for a couple of years, but then days, seasons and years started melding together. I could never remember if something happened at Christmas or Fourth of July, because every day was pretty much the same. In Colorado I came to recognize periods of my life by seasons – it was easy to think back to a time in my life and relate to the weather at the time, or the season, the landscape, even the clothes I was wearing. But in Arizona, after eight years, they all blobbed together and I could not tell you any distinguishing factors in my life for these eight years, except maybe by what job I had at the time.
In Arizona, I started to miss Colorado snow days, the changing leaves and the holidays actually feeling like the holidays. I had no idea I would miss the seasons so much. I was thrilled to move back to Colorado and since I returned to Denver, I actually came to love and appreciate Colorado even more because of this. It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. The weather is very nice here, you get a nice mix of hot, warm, comfortable, cold, and very rarely, freezing. But despite the mostly temperate weather, you still experience seasons, and seasons all have their own feel, their own character and their own qualities that identify times and phases in your life. Now back to our high number of sunny days-
I am a sun worshipper. I can sit on a beach for days and not do a thing, include swim in the ocean. I am perfectly happy laying by a pool and never experiencing the chlorinated water. So Colorado is quite perfect since there is not too much water in these parts but plenty of sun. Arizona had the sun, but since practically half the year is over a hundred degrees, being outside is pretty limited, (although I did spend A LOT of time by my pool, no matter how sweltering it was- yes I have sat outside in 119 degree weather!). I tend to do better when I am outside as much as possible. The sun here is very intense so vitamin D is not missing from anyone’s diet so long as you spend any amount of time outside, and judging from the ever increasing population here, people do appreciate that. It effects our moods and overall, makes us a pretty happy people.
There is no end to the amount of outdoor activity you can do here- biking, hiking, skating, sledding, skiing, snow boarding, kayaking, paddle boarding- you name it, you can see it everywhere here, even in a city park! I swear Wash Park hires REI models to run, play volleyball and hang out there to keep every one motivated and in great shape! It is fact that sun makes you happy. It’s good energy and I think I need more of it. Other benefits include: healthy bones, builds immunity, and lowers blood pressure.
Since moving to the ‘burbs, I have not been outside (as far as physically active) as much as I would like, and I am just not a gym person. Me and the family do try and take walks throughout the week after dinner and we do try and get out on the weekends to do some light hiking with the kids, but I miss riding my bike to work and running the park every couple days. I do think I will be able to do more next summer since my baby will be more mobile and not as fragile. So until then, I will try and soak up as much of the last of the summer sun. I will vow to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside and maybe even step away from my desk to experience a little more vitamin D break on week days.
The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the whole wide world’s joy.
-Henry Ward Beecher