Meredith C. Carroll: Some Aspen-specific thanks-giving
Ideally, I wouldn’t wait until the calendar reminds me to articulate gratitude for who and what I cherish dearly. The reality, though, is I’m magnanimously mushy with the people I see and speak to most often while giving less airtime to the less-than-usual yet still-deserving suspects. On that note, I’m thankful for this space to be able to expand the scope of my appreciation:
I’m grateful for longtime locals and the richness and value their enduring presence adds to the community.
I’m grateful to meet Aspenites whose longevity in Aspen isn’t their most compelling personality trait.
I’m grateful for old signs, tall trees, wild animal tracks and mountain views around every corner.
I’m grateful for the trailblazers who established weirdness as a firm Aspen tradition yet still eagerly and warmly yield the floor to new varieties of weird.
I’m grateful the majestic sight of the Maroon Bells never fails to take my breath away.
I’m happy for Aspenites who choose to ride their bicycles everywhere yet I’m grateful for the cycling enthusiasts who (a) refrain from judging those who cannot afford a bike for each season (or even one of them), or simply choose to allot their money elsewhere; (b) love riding but don’t project their passion for two wheels on those for whom four (or more) wheels is most appealing/enjoyable/convenient/necessary; (c) don’t expect apologies or explanations from those who cannot or will not bike (or bus) with kids, gear and/or groceries in tow; and (d) respect the people who simply don’t want to ride a bike.
I’m grateful the Castle Creek bridge construction has ended, the Entrance to Aspen looks better than ever,and the stink raised about how and why it came to be will go a long way toward making the next major project go even smoother.
I’m grateful for the people who recognize that disliking the process and liking the outcome needn’t be mutually exclusive.
I’m grateful for the Aspen tales tucked into cobblestone, inscribed on benches, hidden in plain sight on rooftops and brick walls, and overheard in the streets, at the bars, on couches, chairlifts and in the backcountry.
I’m grateful for those fighting to preserve Aspen’s old ways and also the fighting spirit of those determined not to let Aspen get both its feet get stuck in the past.
I’m grateful for the voices — especially the loud, whiny and persistent ones — challenging the perception that Aspen was necessarily better in days of yore by endeavoring to update and expand the definition of what makes it exceptional today.
I’m grateful for the strength of character of anyone fighting a good fight who refuses to be intimidated into silence or submission despite opposition from those with self-serving agendas or deep(er) pockets.
I’m grateful to live in a community brimming with irreverence, thoughtfulness, engagement, good humor and liveliness.
I’m grateful to the educators, coaches, babysitters, artists, volunteers, administrators, bank tellers, baristas, lifties, cleaners, bus drivers, journalists, maintenance workers, dishwashers, plowers, mountain managers, cashiers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers, religious leaders, ER staff and other unseen, essential and beloved Aspen personnel who probably never get back as much as they put in but keep doing it anyway.
I’m grateful for fluoride in our local water supply and readily available flu shots.
I’m grateful for the parents and other community members who wholeheartedly support our schools while simultaneously offering critical feedback on ways to make the district better and our teachers and students even safer and more supported.
I’m grateful for the example set by people who admit wrongdoing or graciously accept criticism without deflecting blame.
I’m grateful for those who want Aspen to thrive without expecting everyone to be walking billboards or talking PR-machines.
I’m grateful for those who give or give back in ways that can’t necessarily be seen or heard.
I’m grateful to the people whose environmental footprints are purposefully gentle yet aren’t compelled to announce each can recycled, banana peel composted and iceberg saved from impending puddle.
I’m grateful for family, and friends who are like family, who make no distinction between emotional connection and physical distance.
I’m grateful for my delicious dog, sweet children (most of them, anyway), a husband who knows me inside and out — and loves me anyway — and a whole day to spend with them without complaint (or at least belly-laughing at the idea that that’s even possible).
Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at MeredithCarroll.com.
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