The air is pretty thin at 12,000 feet.

But also exhilarating.

Kind of like when you walk outside in winter just to feel the cold air in your lungs.

Except, you know, at 12,000 feet you’re more likely balanced on the side of a mountain.

At least that’s where I was last time I was in Colorado.

I think it was 2016.

My husband and I were taking a group on an aquamarine adventure on Mount Antero.

Yes. You read that right.

We were literally hunting for aquamarines.

Which meant we spent our days scraping rocks off of rocks, precariously perched on what felt like a glorified gravel pile, watching for little glints of light reflecting off the pale blue, dust-covered crystals.

The view up there, above the treeline (which is where we camped at 10,000 feet) was absolutely stunning.

But while the panoramic scene is incredible, you find aquas looking down, not out.

And if you’re looking extra carefully, you’ll miss the signs.

Those slivers of crystals look like bits of glass, but everything is covered in a brown dust, so you have to train your eyes to seek them.

We found a decent haul that trip.

On the last day, I took my time scaling the climb to a ledge where we’d been working for the past 2 days.

The sun was at a perfect angle for me to see that the mountainside was covered with tiny aquamarines.

I couldn’t pass them by, so I slowed down and collected one after another after another.

Most were tiny.

As I neared the top of my climb, I almost lost my balance and went sliding down when I saw an aquamarine about the circumference of a C battery. It’s 24 carats.

I wouldn’t have found it if I didn’t go so slowly, and it wouldn’t have seemed so massive if I hadn’t been picking up all the tiny ones along the way.

This past weekend, Sal gave me a necklace and earring set made out of a few of our aquamarines and some gold he’d found in Nevada to celebrate a special birthday.

It captures the memory as artwork, and reminds me of our adventure.

The process of finding them is not something most people would endure.

You have to really enjoy the moments of discovery and the moments building up to the next discovery.

Which is very much like curating and creating a newsletter.

There’s a lot to process.

Sometimes an article title or a new thought on a topic feels like it should serve my reader, then I dig deeper and discover the title is the best part.

And sometimes there’s highly relevant content waiting to be found and set into a lovely composition you’ll actually value.

If you’re curating content and contextualizing, get ready to spend some time on the mountainside doing what other people don’t have the patience or energy to do.

The air is thin up there.

Ashley Guttuso  



The result of quality curation: my new necklace and earrings set


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Like this newsletter?

Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at], or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.

Happy newslettering,

Ashley Guttuso