The town is held tight, like the contents of a taco, between steep granite and sand stone mountain slopes. The divine pressure of the mountains hugs you. Old Victorian style mountain cottages are clutched in the grip of Winter. They flank a main street that stands as a relic of the 1800s wild west. In Southwestern Colorado, Telluride used to be an old mining camp that due to its isolated location, was settled slowly. The weathered ruins of the old mining operations dot the forested hillsides of the box canyon it calls home. Like so many old mining towns in the western United States, the old mines were shuttered in favor of an even better financial prospect: Snow. Telluride is famous for its ski slopes. The San Juan mountains offer snow the texture of marshmallow cream, uncrowded slopes, and terrain that will take your breath away.
I have felt spiritually called to Telluride and to Ouray (nearby) for months now. And so, I have come. Now, scouting out the town, I can hear the croaking calls of ravens boomerang against the walls of these mountains. They land on the sidewalks, looking for morsels discarded by tourists walking from store to store. Their oil black feathers provide a stark contrast to the powder white snow. The raven is the bird of prophecy. It leads you to what you do not yet know... To what is still in the shadows of your own awareness. The raven appears when it is time for a change in your life. It tells of an impending change that is instrumental regarding your future. As a keeper of secrets and an intermediary between worlds, the raven is a messenger sent to you… A guide.
I followed one of the ravens to a small natural apothecary shop and there I found a heart medicine that I haven’t seen since I was in China years ago. A medicine to heal the emotional root of chronic distress. It is time to work with it again.
The dominant negative vibration of Telluride is: Snobbery. A snob is a person who sees their tastes, perspectives, opinions, and way of being as far superior to others. Snobbery often comes with an air of condescension and of looking down on others who do not conform to those same tastes, perspectives, opinions, and ways of being. It might surprise the people who call Telluride home that snobbery is the dominant negative vibration, because people so often associate snobbery with people who see themselves as superior due to social position, class, wealth and rank. And Telluride is ostentatiously against that. The people of Telluride pride themselves on NOT being ritzy and pretentious. In many ways, it is the “Anti-Aspen”. It even boasts a super cool outdoor “free box”. A wall of cubbies, where the locals recycle everything from clothing to utensils to books etc.
The snobbery in Telluride is definitely a different breed of snobbery. The people of Telluride end up in such an isolated location by chasing a stranger, more off the grid vision of how life should be. They are very principled people. They have a very strong idea of how things should be and how things shouldn’t be. The idea that certain things are just inferior, wrong and bad, and that anyone who does those things (or worse values those things) deserves criticism and rejection is palpable in the social atmosphere. There is a thick energy of “I’m going to just assume you think like me and have the same views and values as me and share the same tastes, because if you don’t, you’re an idiot and I don’t want you here". It’s almost an “antisocial – social” social scene.
Telluride is, despite its branding, a very wealthy town that is centered around expensive real estate and the luxury of outdoor activities; skiing first and foremost, which is still a sport that predominantly only the rich can afford. And so, it is rather ironic that so many people in Telluride reject the valuing of wealth, but from an upper-class position in life. Many of the people of Telluride do not realize that they are well off enough to have the luxury to not value wealth. There is an inherent irony in their moral posturing.
The dominant positive vibration of Telluride is: “Off the Beaten Path”. The people of Telluride are a different breed. They come so far away from what is popular and normal, chasing a vision or a principle that governs their lives. They were looking to create a very different and unique life for themselves. They came in pursuit of something both unique and atypical. And they have found it. Very different people, who were all searching for a similar thing, found and identified this place as their place to actualize that thing. In this way, Telluride has stayed true to its frontier roots.
To step off the beaten path requires bravery. It requires risk. It requires the willingness to deviate from the collective. It requires doing something different. It requires following your own internal north star with enough conviction that you are not deterred. In this way, the people of Telluride are like modern day pioneers. Because Telluride is so off the beaten path, it is a self-contained dichotomy. It is one of the most famous ski towns in the world and yet, it feels un-discovered.
Telluride is a very special place. The two distinct towns that make up Telluride (Telluride proper and the Mountain Village) are both fully connected to the ski slopes, as if the ski slopes were stationary rivers, feeding life between them both. The gondola travels above those white rivers, taking people back and forth between the two municipalities, allowing them to find entertainment, dine, shop and sleep in either. It also has a much-deserved reputation for its food. Given that my diet is vegan, sugar free and lectin free, I could not eat at any of the restaurants in town. But that did not stop me from checking out the food. And I can assure you that it was a torment! No one has to settle for mediocre food in Telluride, no matter their budget. I think it might just be one of the best foodie towns in the United States; a jamboree of epicurean delight, made even more quenching by the contrast of the cold weather. Isolated and held by steep alpine mountains, the snow touched by the creamy light of street lamps and Christmas lights, Telluride is a great stage for romance.
Walking the Telluride River Trail, people new to skiing pass by, gingerly navigating the path in their ski boots. You have to be cautious so as to not be smacked by the skis they are carrying when they pass by. And I love it. They are getting a taste of a special heaven that I have tasted so much of in my lifetime. A heaven that I would wish for all people to see at least once. I gave away a part of my soul to the snow-covered mountains a long, long time ago and willingly. I belong to them like a fish belongs to the ocean. I am at home in them, like an oyster in his shell. They are another world within this world. A world of epic, atmospheric depth and beauty. Sometimes I like to ask people the question: If you died, what would you tell a new soul coming into this world that they absolutely have to experience. My answer is: The snow-covered mountains.