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Rediscovering Paradise, Epiphany on the Western Slope of Colorado, Telluride, Montrose
The meltdown of the banking industry and the recession that followed, has spun around the Western Slope of Colorado since 2008, like a Category Five Hurricane, which goes on and on. The collapse of the real estate business has caused a huge exodus of people, real estate brokers, construction professionals, home owners and land owners, in a large relocation to other parts of the nation. Those that are staying in Telluride, for example, are having a rough time keeping their lives together. Paying business debt has become a matter of taking out large mortgages on their homes, some are very large. The Golden Years in ski towns ended, not with a bang but a whimper.
Droves of people left for other parts of America, to discover that big cities have been trashed with traffic, disintegrated roads and infrastructure, and very little good work. The American Dream does not exist any more in large cities. Cities are broke from the banking meltdown, and lack of fiscal responsibility over the past 20 years. New values are being discovered. People are being forced to adjust their perception of what is really valuable in their lives, since 5 to 10 trillion in equity has been stolen from them, or vanished into thin air, including homes, land, stocks, and 401K's.
Winston Churchill, after losing a giant fortune in the stock market crash of 1929 said, "As one's fortunes are reduced, one's spirit must expand to fill the void." Family, children, and Mother Nature have taken over as the New Big Thing. They were always there, but now they override all loss of the greenback, stocks, and gold, which Mark Twain said was the true American religion. Speculation during Twain's time and up to the Big Meltdown, has been part of the American DNA.
"All we really have is time", said Ernest Hemingway, who wrote the epic "The Old Man and the Sea," about an old fisherman"s struggle with a giant marlin. Time was our gift when we were born, it is still here, and we were born lucky. "All the bells that ever rang, are still ringing in the long dying rays of light", William Faulkner.
Nassim Taleb wrote a recent book called "The Black Swan". It describes huge events that are unexpected, not predicted by anyone, and effect the entire planet, like the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into WWII. Nobody on Wall Street, the US Treasury Department, or any investment bankers predicted the massive meltdown that started in late 2007 and blows like a Category V Hurricane to this day. The President, the Wall Street Journal, and investment bankers gave no warning whatsoever. On a recent panel discussion a high executive of the Wall Street Journal stated that they failed to predict anything, and failed in their duty to watch the economy. One professor of economics from the University of Chicago predicted the Black Swan Event, but nobody on Wall Street, or in Washington paid any attention to his warnings. He was the only one to see and gut feel the collapse of banks and collapse of home values looming down upon every county in America.
I took a recent trip to the Western Slope of Colorado, and had an Epiphany, a rediscovering of values as I drove by the Sneffles range on Dallas Divide. The 15 miles of mountains, were completely covered with a fresh, white snow, brilliant in the sunlight. The millions of acres of free national forest land, given at birth to everyone in America, is an opportunity for total joy, and like time, it is real and it is a birthright for every citizen of the U.S., and you need very little money, if any, to enjoy it.
I'm moving back.