Letter: Making sense of it all
September 27, 2013
Back in the '70s, Aspen was much less bourgeois than it is now. During big-game hunting season, you'd see dirty pickups with gun racks parked in front of the Little Kitchen on East Hyman Avenue.
The men themselves seemed to walk with a little more swagger than usual. You can still see that if you go down to Carbondale and Glenwood. It's mostly history up here in Aspen
Everyone carries a load of memories activated by personal associations we can never predict. When I saw some hunters a few days ago, in the hunting/fishing section of Wal-Mart, I remembered Jean Eymère, who died in 1979.
Jean was an athletic French mountain guide and ski instructor who lived here in the '60s and '70s. One hunting season in the late '70s, on sunny days, he would walk around town wearing hunter's orange and carrying a long gun over his shoulder. With his other hand, he would be using his white cane. Printed on the back of his orange jacket was the warning: Caution, Blind Hunter. He always had an amiable outgoing expression on his face. He knew me by voice. I asked him if the gun was loaded. Of course it wasn't.
He had lost his sight from diabetes. He was an artist who took up the tactile art of sculpture. Before he died, he was working on the 8-foot-tall, white marble sculpture that stands about 50 yards down Mill Street from the Clark's Market bus stop. It shows a man climbing an overhanging rock. It's hardly deeper than a base relief: an idea emerging from stone.
Rock climbing is very tactile; one is always groping and feeling out what is in reach, a metaphor for any handicapped person trying to make the most sense of life.
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