Friday, October 5, 2018

First visit to Telluride - Original Thinkers

Greetings from Telluride, Colorado! Though I’ve been to many other mountain towns in this beautiful state, I’ve never been here before, though I’ve never visited Telluride. I’m here this weekend to be a part of and perform at the Original Thinkers Festival, the brainchild of David Holbrooke (formerly of MountainFilm). I’m beyond thrilled to be here, but the timing is particularly poignant for me, being less than a month after my mother died.

I haven’t grieved properly. I type that, and yet I know it’s wrong to say. There is no "normal" way to grieve, or rather, everything is normal, right? It comes in waves, it comes not at all, then it comes in a tidal wave of guilt because I hadn’t thought about it for a bit. I’ve got the rest of my life to grieve, however, so I’m trying to throw myself into my passions for the time being.

Travel is passion, and obviously so is music. So is meeting new people, talking big ideas, and trying to generally be a better person. Colorado seems to hold all of those things. No one looks at you strangely when you bring your own straw or bamboo cutlery set. The expectation is to walk rather than drive. Rather than get a plastic takeaway bag, you ask for a basket and promise you’ll bring it back. And you do. People use cloth napkins and they recycle -- as a norm, not as the weirdo on the block. Electric bikes, scooters, and, yes, a Tesla or two because it is a fancy part of Colorado after all, are not there for bragging rights, but because it’s a way to do our part.

I like it here.

Last night I flew into the wee Telluride airport on an 8-seater prop plane. I used the barf bag. I felt like hell. Then I walked out and was picked up and chauffeured to my housing in a brand new Tesla Model X (the kind with the Delorean doors!). I chugged a few glasses of water and continued to feel like death until my hosts force fed me a bowl of rice after which I perked up enough to get excited about punctuation.

I then followed orders to drink a few glasses of water and go to bed -- and despite waking up thrice in the night to pee, I felt great when I woke up. Refreshed and ready to walk three dogs in the mountains.

I’m finishing up this blog after an evening at a hideaway fancy restaurant somewhere you can only access by either skis or the Knight Bus (I took the Knight Bus). There was a bluegrass band playing when I got off the shuttle, and several servers holding trays of wine. I immediately felt guilty that I wasn’t in the band -- that I was instead part of the mysterious Beautiful People Whose Event Required Live Music. I clapped at awkward moments for the band, while over sharing to a new friend about my parents’ cancers. I met new people. I enjoyed the mountain sunset, and I talked to so many interesting people.

As a matter of endorsement, might I also recommend a Woodford Reserve Manhattan at 10,400 ft? It’s more potent than you would imagine. On that note and on a delicious dinner (where vegetarians were not ignored), I sign off. I rode the gondola back to Telluride alone, soaking up the darkness, and walked from the gondola to my crash pad off the Main Street in Telluride. At the last moment, I thought maybe I should turn my phone light off to scare away the bears (there had been a bear sighting this morning). Just as I turned it on, the motion-detector light of the garage came on anyway.

Goodnight, friends. I see why you like the mountains now.

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