by Art Goodtimes
(a more-or-less monthly on-line column for TIO)
The International Herald Tribune/New York Times took a swipe at Telluride March 25th, with Bernstein’s “True Environmentalist, or Mountains of Vanity?” calling out “hot tub environmentalists” for driving the town’s finances into the ancient glacial rockbottom of today’s Valley Floor – the pristine gateway to a postcard box canyon, draped with wisps of waterfalls and backdropped by the snowy alpine peaks of the San Juans.
Hokay, you caught me. I live in the vicinity of Telluride. Claim it as county seat. I contributed to the Campaign to Save the Valley Floor. Save the Gunnison Sage Grouse. Save the Preble’s Mouse.
I’m a tree-hugger, media-mugger, and all-around Ned Ludd monkeywrench enviro of the greenest persuasion. But I’ve learned to tame my wild inner self.
I steam a few hours in Orvis – a communal bath outdoors with rockwork, clothing optional. Or in the riverside free tub deep in the willows upstream of Rico by the settling ponds. Or in any number of private hot tubs – thanks to a new SMPA program, where anyone who trades in a wood-fired barrel tub gets an electric hot tub free.
And pet walking rights on park lawns. And a long fall down a dark shaft. See, that’s how my mind works. Convoluted. Making huge leaps and non-intuitive assumptions.
Steamed, I get my wild mind under control. Regulated. On a leash.
And then I’m ready to go about the valley, saving everything I can lay my regulated little hands on. License plate sheds. Decaying tram towers. Ancestral prairie dogs. Keeping things safe from somebody else’s development.
And conveniently ignoring the reality that along with many mainstream deviants I too reinhabited a boarded-up mining camp the railroad had abandoned and helped turn industrial frontier ruins into a swank trophy resort and real estate Ponzi/Madoff scheme for making rich people richer.
Except now we’re all going bust. Once again. As usual.
Welcome to the New (Old) American West.