Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I’m sure that when you read the above the title you were preparing for a screed, or a rant, in reference to the 1 percent versus 99 percent situation that we have in this country. Well, while I have some very sincere opinions on that subject, this story is about a different kind of class, or to be more precise, classes. Something it seems at least 99 percent of the population in this valley attends on a regular basis

The Roaring Fork Valley has been compared to a college without a campus and judging from the number of classes that are available on any given day that is an apt description. Pilates classes, tennis classes, yoga classes, stand-up paddling classes, spinning classes, weight-lifting classes, golf classes, computer classes, wine appreciation classes, cooking classes, sculpting classes, filmmaking classes, film-watching classes, classes on how to put on classes. You get the picture. The list is nearly endless.

And that, of course, is a good thing. The opportunity to learn and to grow – emotionally, intellectually and, in the case of some of the workout classes, physically – is something that can only be beneficial. And here, where the Aspen Idea, that concept of a life enhanced by the appreciation and awareness of the mind, body and spirit, the act of filling ones’ day with a multitude of classes feels consistent with the place.

But then there is the “war” aspect. With so many classes and only a finite amount of time, many in this valley must make sacrifices. How can you take a full Wednesday to take that photography workshop at ACES when your yogi only teaches class on Wednesday? It’s Tuesday morning and the tennis class conflicts with the Cabernet appreciation workshop, which is right before the Oaxaca cooking class. And if you get through that, you’re off to Crossfit before dashing back to CMC for the retrospective of Mike Nichols’ early work.

CMC not only has an all-the-time day and night roster of courses, it also offers online instruction so that if you want to take classes that you can’t get to, you can simply log in at your leisure. If only the legendary Aspen State Teachers College had hung in there it would be popping out Ph.D.s now instead of selling nostalgic T-shirts.

What’s funny is that so many of our residents who are class addicted were the same folks who skipped classes in college themselves. They say that youth is wasted on the young and maybe this role reversal that comes with age is proof. Maybe it is only when we get older that we recognize the joys and benefits of putting ourselves in a structured environment and diving in with our full attention.

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In any event, with summer here many of us will be registering for still more classes to fill in the hours of our days. And for those of you who are just getting to Aspen, a welcome to the freshman… er…class.