Telluride, Colorado and Hue, Vietnam: one more link in a chain that originated in our box canyon but extends around the globe.

Sunday, December 30, 5 p.m. Between the Covers Bookstore features “Timeless Vietnam,” a photo collection of the region, with an introduction by folksinger (and now bestselling children’s book author) Peter Yarrow, a part-time Telluride local. To complete the Telluride connection, the book is published by Red Rock Press, which is owned by my husband Richard and me.

The photos in “Timeless Vietnam” were taken by Hué native Canh Tang, whose day job is wedding photographer. The stunning images showcasing the lives of the Vietnamese at work today – in water-swamped rice paddies, casting fishing nets and much else – were hidden in Canh Tang’s computer to be discovered nearly two years ago by Telluride-based photographer Eileen Benjamin and me. But I am getting ahead of myself…

The story of the book really begins with Peter Yarrow.

As a member of the iconic folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, Peter leveraged the group’s considerable popularity and used the stage to protest our country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Four decades later, Peter visited Vietnam to advance his visionary U.S.-Vietnam Reconciliation program. The activities of the organization include funneling funds to groups devoted to helping youngsters born with birth defects many consider a legacy of the toxic war-time defoliant Agent Orange.

And thanks to Peter, who met the boy on his travels, many of us in Telluride have had the pleasure of meeting the aspiring teenage scientist Dat Nguyen. In fact, Telluride residents came together years ago to bring Dat to the U.S. for college, even paying the freight on his education. Dat, now a Dartmouth graduate student on fellowship, is the son of the aforementioned photographer whose work became “Timeless Vietnam.” And it was Dat who translated some of the classical poetic and folk lyrics that accompany the sensuous images in the book. He also acted as go-between in conversations between his father and the book’s editor.

Peter Yarrow also managed to convince peripatetic local Wendy Brooks, founder of the Telluride Academy and a close friend, to travel with him to Vietnam. After falling in love with the country, Wendy then expanded the circle of Telluriders with ties to Vietnam by taking one of her Women’s Travel Company trips to Hanoi, Hué, Ho Chi Minh City, and beyond.

Traveling with Wendy is special and different. Part of the adventure involves living with a local family for a few days, and experiencing their world as they do. In January 2011, Wendy put the two women with the same name in the home of Canh Tang, above his wife’s tiny candy store: Ilene Barth and Eileen Benjamin.

The Vietnamese couple spoke only Vietnamese. Their daughter Mimi studied English in school, but her language skills were limited until she too visited Telluride last summer as part of Wendy’s initiative for the Telluride Academy, Global Mountain Theater. But back then, the two Americans needed gestures to communicate with the family. Canh Tang’s photography studio,  also the family’s living room and cycle garage, was decorated with wedding photos advertising his trade. Eileen showed the Vietnamese photographer the images she was taking and he opened up his trove of images he took from the heart. I just sat back soaking in the beauty of what I was seeing on Canh Tang’s screen.

Once back in the U.S., Ilene confirmed the fact that most of the available English-language literature and imagery of Vietnam was hung up on that long-ago, mostly forgiven, if not forgotten, war. And so were the few ill-produced photography books in Vietnam itself, which is especially sad since the U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest trading partner and a magnet for American, Australian and French visitors.

“Timeless Vietnam” is the first real postwar book about this beautiful country. It’s title comes from a phrase the publisher came across in a 500-year old Vietnamese poem: A Vietnamese prince urges his country to resist foreign occupation, commanding them to “admire your timeless land.”

Perhaps we could have skipped the American-Vietnamese conflagration if U.S. politicians read poetry before going to war.

There are no reviews of “Timeless Vietnam” yet. The book does not officially exist until 2013, but the book-trade magazine, Publishers Weekly, got an advanced copy and gave the work a thumbs up. We are certain many American veterans of the war will applaud its content too, among them, Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., who described “Timeless Vietnam as “amazing and beautiful.”

Given Telluride’s increasingly close ties with the country and its people, it feels altogether fitting and proper that locals (and guests) should get a sneak peek at “Timeless Vietnam,” with the added bonus of Peter Yarrow signing these special early bird copies at our favorite bookstore.

Hope to see you Sunday.

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