I think I have seasonal affective disorder. But not in the WebMD (or real MD) sense. My SAD, as the kids are calling it these days, manifests itself through rapid and distinct shifts in leisure time activities from season to season. But what happens when the lines between seasons are blurred? For me, it's caused a serious identity crisis.
Having four true seasons in Colorado, my 5 to 9 and weekend activities are pretty set. In the spring, rock climbing gear comes out of storage, and long days in the canyons tick by while I wait for the trails and rivers to shape up. By the time summer hits, I've got my weekend warrior game on point, and if I don't mountain bike, fly fish and trail run in the same weekend, I'm not trying hard enough. When fall hits and the weather turns cooler, the trail runs get longer and the dog starts to get antsy-- somehow knowing the time for chasing pheasant and chukkar has come. Then winter hits, and after another shuffling of the gear, the truck gets filled with skis and boots and I end up single-mindedly looking at snow forecasts from all over the U.S. Not a bad life, right?
This year though, the opening of pheasant season also marked the arrival of some of the earliest notable snowfalls Colorado has seen in the last few years. So here I was, torn between roaming the eastern plains in search of wild ditch parrots and hitting the hills for some early season turns in the backcountry.
In the end, I missed the eastern pheasant opener for the first time in 4 years and instead strapped on the skins to tour on Berthoud Pass. After a bluebird day filled with unseasonably deep turns, I headed home confident that I had made the right call. That's when it happened. Feet propped up on the couch resting tired legs, the dog passed out on the floor, the phone beeped. Clicking the message, a picture of two buddies sporting shit-eating grins and four roosters popped up. Four roosters between two guys? On opening day when every wannabe upland hunter in the state is out with you in the fields? Remorse set in.
I looked at the dog and asked him if I made the wrong decision. He sighed, rolled over and fell back asleep giving me my answer. See, to him it didn't matter whether we spent the day putting turns (perfect ones I might add) on one of our favorite below treeline benches on Berthoud Pass or combing the wheat and corn fields of Morgan County. What mattered was that we spent the day outside until we had worn ourselves out. I resolved to feel the same.
I clicked reply and sent the friend our trophy shot-- a white wave of mid-November snow lit up by the sun of a perfectly clear day at 12,000 feet above sea level. But before he even had a chance to reply, I typed "We should probably chase some birds next weekend."