First things first. Exhale. Then inhale. When is the last time you breathed air that sweet? Alpine is high enough (4,475 feet above sea level, and far away enough from cities to boast exceptional air quality and days where visibility is so clear, the views extend more than 100 miles. Not surprisingly, local folks move to a rhythm all their own. Folks like to visit with one another and are well-versed in the art of the conversation. Punctuality takes a backseat to a good story. People passing on the sidewalk acknowledge one another with at least a nod, and when driving raise the Hidy sign of an index finger pointing skyward off the steering wheel when another vehicle passes on long, empty stretches of highway. Which reminds me of another less-appreciated attraction: driving in and around Alpine is a pleasure, like driving used to be. And then there’s the sunsets and sunrises and the play of light and starlight so bright under the darkest skies in North America, you can see shadows.