On That Street in Aspen

I teach Creativity at Oklahoma State University.  

I am amazingly uncreative on many days.  Fortunately (Providentially) I married a horse wrangler on a guest ranch some time ago, and she is creative in places that matter.

In our home, our sons, our life together.

So last August, she showed me the money set aside, told me she had already committed miles on a hotel in Carbondale, CO — to try and catch the aspen turning.  We would leave while I was teaching, launching businesses, and consulting and drive long and — you know, it wasn’t hard.  It was wondrous.  


And we saw the aspen turning, but not before Doug told us he had seen them the week before and “They will all be gone when you get there.”

Dear Doug, they have many, many more aspen than your census guessed.  Dear everyone else, go anyway.  

We walked through golden groves where the cobalt blue of the sky straight up hurt, it was that breath taking.  Some times I just sighed.  Sometimes I actually held my breath.  

My wife created those moments.  She is braver, smarter, and more open than I am.  She should probably teach a class on Creativity.  And she got me to this street in Aspen, CO out front of this gallery.  (See the photo On a Street in Aspen).  I slowed and I stopped.  Jill did so for a second, and trooped inside the rough brick and ample glass wall.  I was mesmerized by the sculpture, and said so to the tall, leaning or languishing against the street lamp, staring at it as well.  

I commented how stunningly the artist put each person’s hands in the anatomically correct “space” in the trio of the woman singing, flanked by the sax player and pianist.  He started telling me a story of how people have tried to guess who the men were, playing with Billie Hollday (I think).  They played without credits on her record, so as not to violate their own recording contracts with other labels — because they loved the music.  They loved her.  

As my wife, an artist, absorbed everything inside, I lingered to talk to this man, leaning against the lamp post on this street outside the gallery.  His gallery.

He loved owning the gallery so much, and knew that not everyone would stop and go in to appreciate his artists’ amazing work(s), but passersby would slow down, stop, and stare from outside, that he could then talk to them, ensnare them in stories of how the art was birthed.  Beautiful stories.

That guy leaning against the lamp post outside that expensive piece of real estate set under a full moon shining down on golden groves on the flanks of those imposing mountains — he is the true genius of marketing.  Someone who loves bringing what he brings to us all so much, that he would stand in the crisp night air and talk about the beautiful things that had found their ways to his gallery — hoping to find another home.  

2 thoughts on “On That Street in Aspen

  1. That is an interesting picture of another kind of “marketing” (some might use the “e” word…), of the very warmest kind: arrange something beautiful in a place where others will stop to look, and then step outside the comfortable interior to strike up a conversation about the origins of the beautiful something, and the story behind the something. I can think of a few places where that is done well, and many others where the story is only told once people are inside the doors. You, too?

  2. I like the line, the beautiful things that found their ways to his gallery…

    lots of beautiful things find their way into my gallery, but sometimes I fail to see them for the art that they really are…

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