Red foxes are abundant in the Roaring Fork Valley.
People don’t move to the Roaring Fork Valley for the coffee and bagels, of course. As writer Toni Morrison reflected, at some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.
When nature is everywhere, and when its offerings— large and small, flora and fauna—are not only part of our daily backdrop but also bonded to our every second and hour, our lives are enriched immeasurably. We are different, body and soul, for having lived in or visited this valley. The Hidden Life Around Us, a fabulous new coffee-table book from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (aspennature.org), emerged from a project, aptly named BioBlitz, to survey the species at the organization’s Hallam Lake Nature Preserve in the heart of Aspen. The result is a tome brimming with staggering photography by Peter Feinzig and essays by National Geographic nature photographer and filmmaker Peter McBride—plus a foreword by Denver Post environmental writer Bruce Finley.
With the world’s climate in peril, this book reminds us that what we have in our collective backyard is worth preserving and holding dear. It also serves as a testament to the importance of biodiversity, locally and globally. And, lest we forget, we have the book’s pictures—a wildly sumptuous document of the hills, trees and hollows around us. Finley writes, “Here, life takes on seemingly infinite complexity—a dance of bugs, plants, birds, trees, fungi and mammals.” The survey found 422 species.
We need this book more than ever. After all, nature begins where our minds wander.