I concluded my story with a contemplative trip to the ghost town of St. Elmo. The drive there offered spectacular views of the collegiate peaks. I'm not sure which one was Mt. Princeton, but I imagine that one of them had to have been! The ghost town itself had that essence of Americana that I actually enjoy, and I was glad to have visited.
This little town actually reminded me of Lars von Trier's film "Dogville." Luckily, there were no gangsters or crooked townsfolk (though the place is reportedly haunted by a crazy woman nicknamed "Dirty Annie"). Also, all of the buildings were real, not just chalk drawings on the floor. Incidentally, that was an excellent film. I was able to imagine the setting despite the film's lack of an actual set. It was an emotionally difficult film to watch, but brilliant (with a most satisfying ending).
I was amazed that people actually survived here in 1878. The place made me reflect upon the richness of the history of this country. I'm not talking about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and other more obvious "patriotic" choices, but this seemed like the kind of spot Jack London would write about. This led my mind to weaving literary threads of Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Zora Neale Hurston, J.D. Salinger, Gertrude Stein (this list could go on for a while and I'd never be satisfied with it). I let my mind wander into the visual realms of American painters and filmmakers, photographers and sculptors... This is MY American history, the part of the culture that fascinates and fuels me. Unfortunately, it is the part that, without commercial zest, sports appeal, or military might, is marginalized by society.
I thought back on my adventures at the springs. I wondered if any of my subjects were aware that the strange, quiet girl sitting in the corner with her meatless meal and oddly-titled book was finding art, poetry, and comedy in their colorful vacation world.