Summit up |

Summit up

Summit up
Special to the Daily/Elizabeth Lowe Jake Lowe shows off a REAL Project bookbag Wednesday at the County Commons. Thanks to Alpine Bank and the Reading Early Always Learning Project, more than 100 of the book bags were distributed to local child care providers.

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that is concerned about the health and welfare of Summit County’s winged denizens, specifically the flocks of fabulous mountain bluebirds that swarm to our part of the High Country each spring. Sure, all this cloudy weather and snow may be swell for skiers and boarders, and help boost the snowpack (Jeez, are we tired of hearing about the drought and runoff and reservoir levels …), but what about our fine-feathered friends that perch on local fences and cottonwood snags like little blue jolts out of a Tom Robbins novel or something?How do they survive all this weirdness at the end of April, beginning of May, which conjures up images of bright yellow daffodils and beach drinks with little umbrellas rather than face shots and snow drifts?First of all, we want all our readers to rest assured that the bluebirds arrived on schedule this year, with the first sighting on March 5 reported by one of our avian-watching field agents. That date fits right in with the historical record. And since the birds haven’t laid any eggs yet, everything is copacetic on the bird survival front.

And furthermore, our agent reports, mountain bluebirds, having evolved in the rugged mountains of western North America, are well adapted to cold and snow. Turns out, these birds, like many other bird species, can actually slow their metabolism and enter a state of torpor that helps them conserve energy. Now this sounds like a great thing to us here at Summit Up HQ, and we’d like to suggest that the nation’s finest geneticists immediately form a taskforce to investigate whether there’s any chance of doing some sort of trans-species genetic modifications that would enable us humans to do a similar thing, sort of like the way they crossed fish and strawberry genes to make the latter less susceptible to frost. This torpor thing, we believe, could be a big seller here in the High Country as people look for ways to survive what now seems to many like a truly endless winter. Think of the other possibilities: Your boss is boring you with an incredibly long-winded and particularly dry presentation on the latest trends in accounting. A few drops of bottled torpor under your tongue and you’re out of it of the next 40 minutes. You look alive and awake, but your brain and body have shut down, allowing you to blissfully relax while nobody is the wiser.

Or your significant other is off on one of their rants, talking about coffee stains on the counter, socks left on the couch … you take your torpor and you’re suddenly off in some sort of blissful dreamland, aware only of the beating of your own heart, which has slowed to about 15 beats per minute.Aaaah, it’ll never really work, will it? And if it did, they’d probably make it illegal.***Staying with our animal theme, we notice that there are other communities out there that love their pets just as much as we do here in Summit Up Land.

In Fairfield, Conn., firefighters have recently acquired 15 new oxygen masks for cats and dogs according to a news story we’re reading (while rubbing our eyes in disbelief). So while our firefighters in these parts waste their money on toys like thermal imaging equipment to find humans trapped in fires, or wildland fire engines to put out blazes in our national forests, their colleagues in Connecticut have figured what’s TRULY important. “We’re here to take care of families and their pets. That’s what we do,” they quoted the fire chief as saying. That’s dedication, if you ask us. ***My, my, we are running on fumes here. It’s time to load ’em up and head on out. Have a happy Monday and stay outta the slush. Got some riffs to share? Call (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or e-mail us at

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