The catalyst this go-around was the death of a sweet soul back home. Although he was not of my best friends, he was a friend, and one of magnificent substance. And the sadness caused by his death was catastrophic. So much so, I felt it continents away. I felt my body shiver to its core realizing this world will be just a little bit darker without him, and broke into unrequited sobs understanding, from prior experiences, the bottomless pit of bewilderment and sadness that overwhelms the body when we lose someone we love.
Telluride seems to go through ‘Death Season’; when people we love as brothers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and sisters slip through our fingers and move on, into the world without form, by the handful. It’s unpredictable and devastating, every time. It’s been that way ever since I can remember, which for me is forever. This death season comes without warning and hits town like a blindsiding avalanche in the summer. It doesn’t make sense, and even though it’s a decision of the Gods and out of our control, it doesn’t make it any easier.
I know death and tragedy happen every day, everywhere, but it’s incapacitating and harsh beyond belief in the premises of such a tight nit, young and old, and outgoing community. I suppose it’s the price we pay for living with such tenacious passion for beauty, expression and adventure. I suppose it’s one of the downsides to being privy to one of the biggest secrets in the world, Telluride (It used to be that way anyway... Now we also offer habitat to some of the wealthiest and renowned individuals in the world. But I still like to pretend it’s a secret). We live in Never-Never Land with wicked winters, unforgiving rays, never-ending Budweiser, festivals, and good times.
Keep in mind this is a view coming from a young T’ride native serving in the Peace Corps in Northern Africa, out exploring the realities of other corners of the world and as homesick as one can get. On the flip side, I’ve kicked myself out of the canyon on several occasions because I was so utterly sick of the place. I know canyon fever by heart. So we have a love/hate relationship. But in the end, I always come back for more. As do the vast majority of those born and raised or have settled long enough to experience its majesty in full force.
It’s been just a year of my life, living amongst the poorest of the poor, the hungry, tired and deprived, but it feels like it’s been a decade. Fortunately, the amount of sincere and unrelenting support I have coming from home keeps me somewhat sane and encouraged to continue my travels until I complete my service or feel sound in my efforts in making this world a better place for somebody or at minimum, myself, or perhaps my offspring and their friends.
So, to my fellow lovers, mothers and friends of Telluride, I write to tell you that I miss you everyday and all the time. I wish I could be there to console and be consoled with the recent loses. Why we always seem to lose the best is beyond me. Maybe it’s because we live so close to the heavens above, it’s easier for us to elevate into thin air, dreams, and hearts, versus remain in physical form. I don’t know. But I do know that tomorrow is a new day, and with that comes the opportunity to love more than you hate, smile more than you frown, laugh more than you cry, and appreciate what we have more than what we’ve lost. As you know, that’s what they’d all tell us if they could.
To Cody, Abby, Laura, Jim, Hoot, Wiley and everybody in between. You are missed beyond belief. Thank you for gracing us with your presence. You will NEVER be forgotten. I would be honored to leave this world with the love you created while you were here. Peace be with you, as love has never left you.
Sydney Melzer is serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco.