Maybe the old pig-lizards had it right … | AspenTimes.com
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Maybe the old pig-lizards had it right …

A few hundred million years ago there was a half-lizard, half-amphibian beast called Diadectes that made its home here in the Roaring Fork Valley, according to evidence recently discovered in the Maroon Creek Valley.It was about the size of a pig, the theory goes, and the chances are good that it could be found not just here but in other parts of what is now Colorado.About 290 million years later, according to another theory, a long-haul livestock trucker stopped along a highway in the southeastern quadrant of Colorado. Maybe he wanted to visit his girlfriend, or check out a private deal of some sort, no one’s sure what happened. But a hatch on his truck was left unlatched, the theory goes, and some of his cargo of pigs got out and started making themselves at home in the area.These are real pigs, the kind that adapt themselves to any environment, and they’re making a nuisance of themselves, the locals say.A connection there? Or is it just that I’ve read about both theories, and my overworked brain put them together with a question mark.I don’t know, do you?I think about connections a lot, in those darkly quiet moments when I try to make sense out of life, the universe and everything. Never goes anywhere concrete, but it’s better than worrying about human frailty, environmental catastrophes and all the other things we find to worry about these days.Connections.It was around 15,000 or 20,000 years ago, they say, that a bunch of tourists from the Asian continent made their way across a short-lived land bridge to what is now Alaska, and set up housekeeping on continents believed to have been devoid of human habitation up until then. That would be the Americas, a region of the globe that has been attracting waves of human tourists ever since.Today, a new class of tourists with more dollars than sense make their collective way to the Roaring Fork Valley in growing numbers, setting up their own kind of housekeeping, the kind where armies of servants and sycophants attend to these tourists’ every basic need. This leaves our heroes free to seek more dollars to pad their already hefty bank accounts, and look for other playgrounds in which to set up housekeeping for those times when they don’t feel like being here.More connections? You tell me.I sat at a table in a bar this week chatting with a friend about what we, the current crop of tourists occupying this valley, can do to keep it from being ruined beyond recognition by the economic and social fallout we have caused here.The subjects ranged all over the theoretical landscape, but it circled back repeatedly to the burden of anxiety, anger, even rage that people here seem to carry around with them like unwanted luggage.”Why is that?” my friend asked more than once. “Why are people so pissed off here?”It’s a good question, one I run up against frequently both professionally and internally. Why is it that so many of us, who got here at the end of a long search for paradise, seem to greet each day with a frown? It can’t be the place, which after all is still one of the best places on Earth in which to live out one’s days.Is it something we brought with us, each unto our individual selves, some deep drive to get somewhere that we never can reach? Are we pissed off because no one around us seems any closer to the answers we so desperately seek, to the solace we so desperately need, and therefore can’t help us in our search?All around us are the trappings of incredible wealth, but even those possessing that wealth don’t appear to be happy with what they’ve got, content with what they’ve achieved. And those of us who struggle daily to make ends meet, we really aren’t doing so badly, are we, that we should be endlessly envious and anxious. Are we?I don’t have the answers to such questions, but I like asking them, nonetheless, which seems to be part of the curse that set the scene for such lines of thought in the first place.There certainly are times when I wish, in my heart of hearts, that this was still the province of Pleistocene-era Diadectes, and the other forms of life that roamed the Ancestral Rockies long before the dinosaurs appeared or the present-day Rocky Mountains appeared.I doubt if they ever sat down at a bar and asked deep questions of each other, anxiously probing theoretical depths with no hope of getting at the core truths.Or did they?John Colson can be reached at jcolson@aspentimes.com


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