Let’s take a minute to recognize some good news | AspenTimes.com

Let’s take a minute to recognize some good news

The Aspen Times Editorial

With our ears ringing from the rising din of the political catfight that seems to have become a way of life in the upper Roaring Fork Valley (trains and roundabouts and recall and more), it is easy to slip into a kind of cynical depression. It is easy to be led astray, to find ourselves focusing obsessively on everything that is wrong, everything that is hopeless, everything that is doomed. It is easy but, in the words of Richard Nixon, “It would be wrong.”

Unlike Mr. Nixon, we really mean that.

It is hard, after all, to submerge ourselves in unpleasant thoughts during these glorious days of autumn – days so astonishingly magnificent that they serve as Nature’s own swift kick in the pants for those who would wallow in gloom. The blue skies, the crisp air, the warm sun, the almost absurdly beautiful colors … what better reminder that we do indeed live in a charmed spot?

Certainly, Nature cannot be trumped when it comes to providing reminders that things here are really pretty good after all – but a few recent actions and accomplishments by mere humans also deserve recognition for their cheering effect.

The first such accomplishment is the agreement that has apparently been reached between the town of Snowmass Village and the Droste family. At issue was an attempt to find a way to preserve a vital sweep of open, undeveloped land in the heart of the Brush Creek Valley. The land belongs to the Drostes, who recognize its importance as open space, but who are also well aware of its great financial worth.

Negotiations between the family and the town have been long and difficult and occasionally bitter. There have been unfortunate bursts of ego and fits of temper from both sides. Several times it seemed that negotiations had broken down completely. But in the end, those involved demonstrated good faith – good faith with the voters and good faith with the valley. They found their way through the thickets of disagreement and reached a compromise that will avoid the kind of destructive development that would have forever marred a beautiful valley.

All those involved deserve our collective thanks for what they have achieved.

Also deserving of recognition and appreciation was an astonishingly generous gift from one longtime local resident, who set aside her own prospects of personal gain in order to do something wonderful for the community.

We are speaking of Ruth Whyte’s gift to the Aspen Historical Society of a house in Aspen’s West End. Whyte donated the house to the Society about a year ago, and just last week the house was sold for almost $2 million. That money will be used for the restoration of the Historical Society’s Wheeler-Stallard House museum.

It is easy for any of us to say we care about Aspen and its historical heritage, but Ruth Whyte has set a high standard by showing just how much she really does care. Perhaps inspired by Whyte’s generosity, the real estate firm that handled the sale donated a portion of its commission to the Society, as well.

May we all be so inspired.

In fact, let us express a sincere hope that actions such as these – demonstrating patience, generosity, hard work and a sincere commitment to do what is best for the community – could be an inspiration to all those who contribute to the din of hostility and anger and destructiveness. We can – we must – do better than simply attack what we do not like. We must work to protect and enhance what is precious. We must recognize and honor those who do exactly that.

And we must get outside and enjoy these glorious days of autumn.

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