Racing into Spring

On my walk this morning up Boulder Creek, a Western Robin cocked its muddied beak at me and let out a clumsy squawk offering proof her winter rest had left her unpracticed in her warnings to approaching strangers. The message: “I am not to be trifled with” was, however, received. I hope she found a delicious earthworm or two to sate her gullet and soften her disposition.

For most of us, the winter of ’24 was tame by historical standards. In Colorado, we fortunately got plenty of moisture even while higher temperatures meant the snow had the texture of mashed potatoes more than baby powder. The skier’s revelry for “blower pow” was replaced by the climate-change reality of sodden flakes. Here’s hoping our water well—the snowpack—will persevere and protect us from summer wildfires.

As you may have gained from my reference to Boulder Creek, this winter included my relocation from my beloved San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado two degrees farther north latitude to Boulder, Colorado, home of the CU Buffaloes who seek new fame (infamy?) for their football program with Coach Prime. We’ll see how that goes. If he can accomplish what the women’s basketball team has, he may be around for a while.

My reason for relocation were greater opportunities for social and intellectual stimulation as well as better access to healthcare while maintaining reasonable exposure to nature and recreation. Those of you who live in healthcare deserts like the Western Slope of Colorado know what I mean. Cancer brought that reality home to me, loud and clear.

In making the decision, I reflected on a lesson taught to me many decades ago by a great American you have never heard of, Roger Neuhoff. Roger was an east coast guy—a quintessential New Englander—and former CIA agent during the Cold War whom I met during my broadcasting career while living in Washington D.C. His spook-assignment was to infiltrate North Korea during the Korean War and rescue stranded and/or captured American reconnaissance pilots. He was not only smart, he had extraordinary courage. He taught me, with his no-nonsense Yankee wisdom, that if I had a choice of where to live a person can’t go wrong with living in, and investing in, cities that have: a land grant university; a state capital; and, a river. In his view, water, proximity to power, and youthful energy and inspiration assured vitality inoculated from economic downturns. Like most things in his life, he was correct about this formula, too.

So, I decamped; from one corner of Colorado where I was close to New Mexico and Arizona to a northern position closer to Wyoming. I now live across the street from the creek, a fifteen-minute walk to Coach Prime’s new promotional playground—Folsom Field—and just two blocks from Boulder’s famous Pearl Street which has some of the finest restaurants and retail in our country, although the food gets much more of my attention than the latest merch. Besides the university, which is an obvious source of intellectual stimulation, and which I plan to exploit soon at their April Conference on World Affairs, Boulder is also home to Highland City Club (HCC), close to my new residence as well.

HCC has, as its mission, to be a “securus locus” or safe place to pursue all manner of social, intellectual, and business endeavors. Its founder, Sina Simantob (an American immigrant and true visionary) who sees Boulder as an “Athens of the West” and his son, Dustin, have done an extraordinary job of creating a haven for open minded, curious, and intelligent people. Clearly, they made an exception in accepting my membership application! They further describe their mission as:

City Club’s community offers a shared safe place, allowing our members to feel accepted for who they are. Show up as your best self and see us as we see ourselves. We are the young and the old. We transcend race, gender and religious belief. We are the young entrepreneur operating on a shoestring, and the seasoned business person wanting to give back. We are not separated by our politics. We are the artist, scientist, educator, and retiree. We embrace them all. Each voice counts equally. A tall order, perhaps, but we’ve been at it for four decades.

Yes, folks, notwithstanding the vitriol that has inundated our national discourse, there are still enlightened places in America where open-mindedness fosters creativity and ingenuity across all dimensions of intellectual endeavor.

I am now where the rivers flow southeast rather than southwest, on the so-called “front range” of the Rockies—on the other side of the Continental Divide. Theoretically, our headwaters end up in the Gulf of Mexico, although given the parched lands between I doubt a drop ever reaches its warm waters. During the interregnum from my writing due to my move, I have kept a scant eye on national developments other than to notice things haven’t gotten any better.

My desire for a McCarthy-esque comeuppance for Donald Trump, like when Joseph Welch nailed Senator McCarthy with his famous query, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” (effectively ending the demagogue’s career), has yet to be visited upon Mr. Trump. And, while I recognize that a sociopath of Trump’s caliber would not likely be swayed by the quaint notion of decency, one can still fantasize. November draws closer day-by-day. Yikes.

Happy Easter, everyone. As He is, may we all be, risen.