365 Days in Aspen


accumulationThe word "accumulation" has a dual – and paradoxical – meaning in Aspen. 

dumpsterWhen it comes to the snow, accumulation is the way to measure the impact of the precipitation. I can look at the weather channel online or just look out the window at the trash hut to see how much snow we've gotten. 

(To check how much it's snowing now, I look up at the mountain and whether I can see it or not. Today? Not.)

When talking about snow, accumulation is a good thing. In moderation, that is. Six to ten inches is perfect for an average snowfall. Less and it barely feels like anything has happened. More and it can get heavy to ski through (especially the next day).  

2017-01-05-08-57-53Another interpretation of "accumulation" is related to possessions. Ironically, living in the town of prosperity, the lifestyle here isn't so interested in this form of accumulation. Yes, I had to buy skis and the related paraphernalia in order to enjoy the outdoor activities, but beyond that, less is more. There is neither pressure nor need to have more than one functional ski jacket, for example. In fact, wearing the same one is preferable so your friends will have an easier time recognizing you. The space in my place is limited, yet feels airy and open because it's (relatively) decluttered. Other than a couple of things here and there, there's nothing to add, and nowhere to add it. 

The same is true with wardrobe. No one seems to notice what you're wearing if you're a local. Yes, the tourists stand out with their unblemished matching ski outfits, but the rest of us couldn't care less. 

Just like with the accumulation of snow, it's soft flakes blanketing the ground softly, there's a certain peace in the absense of any drive for accumulation of material objects. I have what I need, and life is good.