The kingdom’s new castle

Dear Editor:

Once upon a time in a small but very affluent community nestled high among towering peaks, there arrived by private jets a small group of individuals who decried the lack of a local museum of suitable scale and design to house what they felt to be “cutting edge art,” as they felt that the town’s existing and lovely old museum building was so yesterday. Something must be done, and soon, they all agreed.

After joining the museum’s board of directors, this self-appointed steering committee made certain that the entire board knew what “cutting edge art” consisted of and set out to hire a new director who also was very familiar with this type of art and who would champion the triumph of form over substance.

The person finally chosen after a national search proved to be a very clever sort, some old-timers even thought that she possessed the powers of a wizard, as she was able to convince the board that the castle that she and the committee envisioned erecting in a downtown location would in itself be a monumental work of art that would attract many thousands of visitors annually.

It would come to pass that she was right.

Ignoring a rather large field of very talented local architects, a designer known for his work in building very nice temporary shelters for earthquake survivors in temperate climates was chosen instead. After laboring long and hard, his elegant design was completed, and resplendent with computer-generated renderings, began to be circulated around the community to inspire wealthy individuals who appreciated “cutting edge art” to give generously to the project, which was estimated to cost $30 million or more.

It is said that a few members of the board, many noted architects and numerous community members did raise serious concerns about the appropriateness of the design (a square of cribbing perfected by CDOT for retaining walls, enclosing a glass box with a flat roof); observing that the town received several hundred inches of snow every winter and the cribbing would function like a snow fence and hermetically seal-in the glass box and its contents. Other felt that the cribbing would instantly become a favorite climbing wall for the town’s late-night set, and a favored nesting cote for thousands of pigeons.

The committee, brushing aside these concerns, contrived to have some more of the wizard’s magic potions placed in the Fiji Water served at board meetings and cited the findings of a recent Ideas Festival panel that confirmed the fact of global warming. Therefore, they claimed, it would surely follow that upon completion the new edifice would lie in a semi-tropical zone comparable to Honduras where snow would not be a factor.

The museum board bought this irrefutable logic and the project moved forward to completion; however, over time attendance proved to be very poor as the majority of the museum-going public had very little interest in “cutting edge art”; and despite dire warnings, global warming proceeded at a glacial pace and the museum was drifted-in and inaccessible nine months of the year and soon closed its doors and the vacant structure was donated to the Forest Service.

However, despite failing as a museum for “cutting edge art,” the cribbing did put the town on climbers maps worldwide as a great place to free climb, soon passing Half Dome at Yosemite in day-use permits; and the thousands of pigeons who nested there each summer attracted many raptors to its surroundings which spawned a gold-rush boom in the dry-cleaning business and convinced the Audubon Society to move its national headquarters to town, thus creating hundreds of green jobs which pleased the mayor.

It was just like the good old days once again, and everyone prospered and lived happily ever after.

Peter Bergh



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