Aspen Times Editorial: Gratitude for the life we can live in Aspen

Aspen Times Editorial Board

It’s been a long year. Our country has been burdened with mass shootings, devastating wildfires and a vitriolic election season. As we near the end of 2018, it’s important to reflect on all that is good in our community and our world and to express our gratitude.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

We are thankful that the election is over, especially in Florida. Our local turnout was great, showing that our electorate feels strongly about participating in democracy. We are fortunate to have candidates who are willing to challenge one another and to run for a public office; win or lose, that we have freedom of choice is a blessing we want to count.

The Lake Christine Fire on Basalt Mountain destroyed the home of a long-time local and displaced thousands during mandatory evacuations. Businesses suffered. Many visitors stayed away. The communities of Basalt and El Jebel spent the entire summer under the blanket of ashes.

We are grateful for our local firefighters, who saved countless lives and property, and for the hundreds of men and women from all over the country who slept in tents for months and worked from sun up to sundown to protect our valley. We are also thankful that voters up and down the valley supported property taxes to give fire districts the resources they need to protect us, and our precious surrounding environment.

Thanks goes to local voters who supported property taxes that provide much-needed services for our population: increased and long-term bus service, and money dedicated to mental health and substance abuse. The things that our voters care about are the things that create community and improve our quality of life.

We are particularly grateful that the long-fought battle over where to build city offices in Aspen is over. The people who sued the city over its plan to develop at Galena Plaza need to accept the will of the voters and move on.

We are thankful that a new ski season has begun — early. Aspen Skiing Co. was scheduled to open Aspen Mountain on Thanksgiving but was able to harness cold temperatures and make adequate snow in time to open five days early. We know it is the diligence of the behind-the-scenes, on-mountain crews and ski patrol who bust their butts to make the magic happen.

How lucky are we to have a privately held company that champions social justice and reflects our community values operating the resort in our own backyard? Living passionately. Awakening the spirit. Elevating community. Honoring place. Those are all values for which we can be thankful.

When our country is as divisive as it is, how refreshing it is to live in a community that cares about mind, body and spirit.

Let’s not forget the important things we are always thankful for but likely take for granted from time to time: clean air, pure water, blue skies, a safe community and bar menus.

The Aspen Times editorial board is comprised of the publisher, editor and members of The Aspen Times staff.