2017 has been quite a ride for me – emotionally and spiritually. This past year, I experienced some of the lowest and highest points of my life so far.
|2017 Butterflies (Photo by Rich Pearce)|
First, the lows - the big low: My brother and I sadly, and somewhat unexpectedly, lost our 89-year-old mother in early May. Although we get some consolation from the fact that she lived a wonderful, full life in her nearly nine decades, and even though gradual health declines made her passing not too much of a surprise, I am still sad and miss her terribly.
With all of the logistics and paperwork that follow the death of one’s parent, especially the last parent, I sometimes feel that I haven’t even had the chance to mourn properly. I am working on that, even within this post.
But, the point of this piece is not to focus on the lows, the negatives, because part of mourning is getting through it and moving on. It is what our mother would want – she told us so. So, I will move on to the high points of 2017 for me – and these revolve around entertainment and travel.
Even though this blog is about what goes on in and around Aspen, Colorado, and although some of what 2017 had in store for me did take place here, much did not. That being said, it all ties back to Aspen because my living and working situation here is what allows me to do all that I do, and that includes outdoor recreation, entertainment and now, travel.
Music Festival Performances
|Photo Credit: Zereshk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons|
It had been a couple of years since I had taken this opportunity, although I had enjoyed a few performances from the lawns outside the tent from time to time. I’m so glad I did; I had forgotten just how beautiful and inspiring being enveloped by the music right inside the venue is. And, I also got to experience the musical atmosphere of Harris Concert Hall as well.
I had never seen an Aspen Music Festival performance in Harris Concert Hall before – quite a different experience than in the tent. It was much more intimate and offered a different, subtle kind of vitality as opposed to the overpowering energy of a full orchestra.
The show we attended there featured a variety of violin and piano pieces, from the well-seasoned performance of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, op. 96 (1812; ?1814–15), featuring Masao Kawasaki on violin and Wu Han on piano, to the energetic whimsy of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1897; 1899), featuring the youthful energy of Dongxu Jin and Youlan Ji on dueling pianos.
The concert also included the interesting and sometimes humorous solo performance of Sylvia Rosenberg, on violin in GYÖRGY KURTÁG’s Signs, Games, and Messages (1989–97).
Unfortunately, due to a ticket/scheduling snafu (I forgot the date), I missed an Aspen Chamber Symphony performance, featuring virtuoso violinist, Sarah Chang, but did get my in-the-music-tent, traditional classical music fix with a beautiful performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, op. 15 (1795–98), showcasing Paul Lewis on piano instead.
Recent Theater Shows Near Aspen 2017
|* taken from – https://www.flickr.com/photos/montage_man/348599323/Author: @joefoodie https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ – re-sized from the original|
As usual, both local theater companies exceeded expectations with their lively, professional renditions of these American classics. The shows were predictably hilarious and very entertaining, not only because they were so well done, but because they included so much local talent (faces and names I recognize, and even some friends) as well.
The highlight for me in Little Shop of Horrors was the puppet-driven portrayal of the nefarious plant, Audrey, itself. And, of course, who cannot help but love the epic, signature scene featuring knights dancing on the tables, singing the main theme song, Spamalot, in that same-named production.
Trips and VacationsThis past year, I also made it past the roundabout for several mini-vacations (something else I hadn’t had the opportunity to do in a while). These included going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to see the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse, visiting Oklahoma City to hang out with Jo’s family, and venturing to Chattanooga, Tennessee to visit my oldest step-daughter, Michelle, and her family.
Total Solar Eclipse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
|2017-Solar-Eclipse-Totality-with-planet (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Grand-Tetons-piercing-the-sky (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Old-Faithful (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|2017-Solar-Eclipse-Totality (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
It was also a lot of fun!
|2017-Solar-Eclipse-feigning-horror (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Winnie May - Oklahoma City (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
We went to:
- The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
- The Oklahoma History Center
|National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
The exhibits show how Oklahoma’s challenges mirrored the struggles with racism, war, industrialization, and economics of our nation as a whole. It also provides a glimpse of our collective current efforts to embrace diversity and social and economic regeneration.
|Native American Hut - Oklahoma History Center (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Printing Press - Oklahoma History Center (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Oklahoma History Center (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Hamburger King - Shawnee, Oklahoma (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Raccoon Mountain Caverns - Cave Shield (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
The area around Chattanooga is comprised of urban centers, small communities, and rolling hills, all intersected by the mighty Tennessee River. It reflects an interesting mix of urban and rural, modern and timeless.
I actually stayed a few miles away from the city, in the town of Dayton (of the Scopes Monkey Trial fame), with my step-daughter, Michelle and her family who had recently moved to the area after being chased out of Corpus Christi, Texas by Hurricane Harvey.
While I was there, we toured fascinating caves, split some geodes, and panned for gemstones at the famous Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campground nearby.
|Raccoon Mountain Caverns (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Raccoon Mountain Caverns - 2 (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Tennessee Aquarium - fish (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|Tennessee Aquarium - Sea Turtle (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
|High Point Climbing and Fitness center (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
We explored the “backwoods”, an all but impenetrable bramble-walled, tree-filled, ravine-threaded fortress portion of their land, and we spent some quality time with chickens and quail they are raising. We were even treated to a few fresh eggs while I was there. It was a very calming and relaxing experience.
|Chattanooga chickens - Dayton Tennessee (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
As I reflect on the highs and lows of 2017, one more fond memory of a great time with my mom comes to mind - watching the transit of Venus across the Sun from behind our house in Aspen in 2012:
|In Memory of Mom - Watching Venus Transit (Photo Credit: Rich Pearce - all rights reserved)|
This post first appeared on Aspen, Colorado Activities, Events And Things To D, please read the originial post: here