Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
There was a gathering of minds the other night at an undisclosed location here in Aspen to discuss the future of a local icon, namely the Aspen Times Weekly. If you were there you know who you are, and if you weren’t, well we all hope that the gathering will bring good things in the future.
Anyway, someone mentioned that we live in a community filled with “really interesting people who do really interesting things.” Well, at first blush that was such on obvious thing to say. I mean, this is Aspen. We all know tons of interesting people who are constantly off on some adventure or doing something new, noteworthy and extraordinary.
But on Wednesday, I was listening to Jonathan Bastian’s wonderful radio program Page by Page and it got me thinking about just how interesting a community we actually do live in. To start with, here was Jonathan, a young man who grew up in the digital age who is in love with books and the idea that the literary age lives. He was in discourse about the evergreen value of Herman Melville’s epic “Moby Dick” and it was a wonderful conversation. The show was world-class and certainly involved as much of what I hear on national NPR programs.
And yet, had I not heard the comment earlier in the week about our “really interesting” community I may not have put Jonathan and his show in that context. That is to say we sometimes just take it for granted that every place has the rich character and the broad intellect and the global opportunities and the athletic prowess that so many people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley possess.
Every place doesn’t.
It’s not that interesting people can’t be found in other towns and cities. It is just that we have a dramatic concentration of them here in Aspen. And there are always people who are coming here from other places to add to that pool of “interesting people.”
So, I thought, why are we so lucky? Is it the natural beauty that naturally attracts folks who naturally gravitate to beautiful places? Is it simply money? Does wealth provide people the opportunity to do interesting things and grow in interesting ways because they have the means to be, well, interesting?
Or is there some secret, unknown, unspoken attraction to this place that draws those with wit, intellect, energy and wisdom? Kind of like the mastodons and mammoths and all of the creatures that were attracted to the Ziegler Reservoir. Is it possible that there is some sort of magnetic attraction to this valley? That we all, all of us interesting people, came here because we had a calling, a cosmic tug of some kind that said “This is the place. Go There.”
Perhaps that is boastful. And maybe we aren’t so special. But in the places I have been, there never seem to me to be as many interesting people as those I find right here in my own backyard.