- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - The words of everyone from Henry David Thoreau and Woody Creek author Joe Henry to Aspen Elementary students will soon be engraved onto boulders in the John Denver Sanctuary.

On Monday, Steve Cronin, a landscape designer with the city of Aspen’s parks department, placed paper with quotes on several rocks to check sizing and approximate appearance. The parameters for 12 quotes selected by Annie Denver, the late musician’s widow, and the parks department will then be sent to the Grand Junction company that previously etched words from Denver and others in several granite boulders, Cronin said.

“From the beginning (Annie Denver) wanted to share John’s legacy and his spirit,” he said of the park.

The initial engravings “attracted a ton of attention, and Annie and everyone really enjoyed it,” Cronin said.

Some of the quotes provided inspiration to John Denver, while others are from people who knew him, like Henry. He wrote the words to, among others, the Denver song, “Rain Song,” the lyrics of which were engraved when the sanctuary debuted in the early 2000s.

A Thoreau quote Cronin was measuring in the sanctuary’s Child’s Play area says: “Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.”

Other quotes being considered come from the likes of John Muir, Jacques Cousteau, Buckminster Fuller and Aldo Leopold. An Aspen Elementary teacher last year assigned her students to create their own poems and thoughts about nature - without telling them their words may be around for generations, Cronin said.

“She gave them to us, and a lot of them are amazing,” he said.

In September, parks director Jeff Woods, Denver and Cronin strolled through the area, appraising possible sites for the words. The John Denver Aspenglow Fund is paying for the effort, Cronin said. The work by Carlson Memorials, a company that also engraves tombstones, benches and the like, is set for June. Cronin said it should only take a day or two to complete.

Inscription of some of the quotes will have to wait until next fall, when a city construction project on the west side of Rio Grande Park is expected to be completed.

Monday, Cronin laid the paper out on boulders, looking for indentations that could be problematic, and photographed them for further scrutiny. A few revisions to the draft mark-ups were necessary so the words will fit better on the rocks, he said. Carlson Memorials will make its own templates so parks staff can further visualize the quotes.

“We just want to complete it and do it right,” Cronin said.


Information from: Aspen Daily News, https://www.aspendailynews.com

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