Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 18, 2008—Summit County at 4:00 a.m.


Consider This for August 18, 2008—Summit County at 4:00 a.m.

Summit County looks a lot different at 4 a.m. First of all it is dark. It is always dark at 4 a.m.

I get up every morning at 4 a.m. I have done that for years. By every morning I mean just that, every morning. Yes, I mean Saturdays and Sundays too.

I live about a block from Highway 9 near the High School. I can see and hear the traffic all day and all night long. At 4 a.m. There is little or no traffic.

It is quiet at 4 a.m. There is hardly a sound anywhere. My phone never rings at 4 a.m. I am left alone with just my thoughts.

Once in a while an ambulance or fire vehicle will come by with their lights and sirens going. Being an old fire horse I always wonder what kind of call they are on and if there is someone dying. I guess that is part of being an old Coroner too.

There are a lot of delivery trucks at 4 a.m. coming from Denver to deliver to the grocery stores and other businesses that accept deliveries all night long.

Sometimes I will see coyotes and fox running across my lawn to get to the Blue River for their morning watering. That goes on year round. I used to see the elk herd from up on the Ten Mile come down but they are gone now. I checked with the Division of Wildlife and was told that they still exist but have moved further away from the highway corridor.

At one time there were several elk hit by cars near my house but not now. The Elk are missing. This all reminds me of “The Little House on the Prairie.” Is it time to move again?


This year I have been inundated by voles in my yard. I mean Voles not voters. Voles are little Prairie Dogs that look like tall, light brown rats. When the sun starts to come up they begin to do whatever voles do in my yard outside my window.

This year they have taken to sunning themselves on my deck. A brazen arrogance for the little critters letting me know that I now live in their territory. I wonder if they would pay my property tax for me.

I have mixed emotions about them. They do dig tunnels all over my lawn that has to be good for the soil as they move about. I don’t have one tree in my yard so that is not a problem. Voles love to strip the bark off of the lower parts of trees. Sometimes people blame deer for that but it is normally voles. Voles are short without horns. Deer are tall and some have horns. It is not hard to tell the difference. I am sure that you can buy a book with pictures.


My deadline for my column is 8 a.m. on Friday mornings so I normally write on Wednesday or Thursdays. I am writing this one at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

As I sit at my computer looking out of my in-home office window this morning I can see frost on my deck. It must be August in Summit County. Weather happens at 4 a.m. I have yet to have a morning that my high/low unofficial thermometer has not been below freezing at some time during the morning. It was 28 degrees this morning.

I still do six miles on the treadmill every morning. Years ago I would run 12 miles a day on the highway at 4 a.m. before the sun came up. That was 12 months a year so a lot of that was in the snow or even when it was still snowing. Invigorating. That must be my Scandinavian background. Or is it my Scandinavian stubbornness?

And yes, by 6 a.m. I am showered, shaved, brushed and dressed for the day. And then I get to sit and look out the window waiting for all of the normal people to get up.

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