I hope you're having a very nice holiday, and sorry if you are having to work today. I have an interview with High Country News, which is sort of the magazine of the Rocky Mountain region.
I used to live there, of course, when I lived in Boulder Colorado for eight years. What an amazing town. It was like a sci fi landscape, that Front Range seemingly stretching into infinity from the side of the Flatiron mountain that's part of of Chautauqua park.
If you look at maps of social mobility in the states, you'll see that this region, from the North to the South, is where the greatest mobility is. It's funny. It's like what Wordsworth says about being in the mountains in Cumberland, that they inspire some kind of equality between people.
I've thought about this a bit. I think the physical exertion of moving up and down at that altitude (3000m) puts people back in their body, and when you encounter someone struggling up or down, your first thought is not how different you are from them, but how you are both in this physical realm. A realm of great obstacles and incredible aesthetic experiences. Maybe Eliot's character was right: “In the mountains, there you feel free.” It's a cliche but there is something in it.
At first I felt like Mr. Clean from Apocalypse Now: I'd grown up in south London and “the light and space of [the Rockies/Vietnam] really put the zap on [my/his] head.” The light is so strong up there you feel like you can see around objects.