Keep it simple—especially at the post office

The holidays are here, and so is winter in the high country. It’s great when they arrive together in a ski town. We’ve gotten through election season, Daylight Savings and hopefully recovered from Thanksgiving feasts and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping craze. Hopefully you picked up some Butte Bucks to spend locally (good through December 15), which is a nice way to save some coin and support the storefronts and restaurants that keep this place spinning. And if you ski, skate, Nordic, snowboard or otherwise enjoy snow hopefully you’ve gotten out in that foot of fresh we received Monday night with more to come later this week. It sure lifts my mood, even as I sit at home with a sick child and wish I was out playing in it. Just looking out the window, seeing the twinkling lights that have sprouted up in neighboring yards and the thick blanket of snow collecting around me brings a welcome wintry cheer. I love this time of year, and how it pares things down to a simpler, more focused way of life. 

The often painful reminder of that is our post office. A key employee at the PO quit this week and there is a (hopefully temporary) service interruption in contract drivers that deliver to clusters at Skyland and CB South (see page 13). For now let’s keep it simple with holiday cards instead of sending packages. Let’s bring a book to read (or holiday cards to write!) while we wait in lines we knew were already certain to get longer even if they had a full staff (and they didn’t).  

Browsing the community calendar, Nordic News, CBCS school notices, Center Stage and my personal email with reminders for dance performances, holiday concerts, cookie parties and more, the list can quickly fill my head and my free time. When we first moved here, I embraced the bounty of activities for a social butterfly and culture nerd. So much happening in sweet little CB! But as the years creep onward, I find myself embracing fewer outings with more impact.

Similarly, our new neighbors recently commented on how very much we have going on around town, on any given day or evening, no matter what the season. “I thought this was supposed to be a small, rural town!” they exclaimed. And truly, for a place with only a few thousand residents we have an incredibly vibrant lifestyle. That’s common knowledge among us all, but often a surprise to our guests and newcomers. While in a city there are always so many things to do, it seems easier to drown out the noise with recognition that there is much more available than time to do it. Here, it can teeter on the verge of overwhelming and yet all so tempting. 

I am trying to let the seasonal charms of this creative place in, and always leave room for curiosity, growth, newness. I do let the excitement fill my head, but then I make sure to exhale too. Deeply. 

Because we can’t do it all. And it dilutes the experience to try. Most of us live here because we want to do less, and for it to mean more. 

I chose a trail run in the woods over shopping last Friday. It was likely my last for the year, and I am happy to trade in running shoes for skate skis. This week’s snow is helping the CB Nordic Center get our in-town trails open—just in time as they stopped grooming out at Lily Lake. It’s helping CBMR’s crews to open more terrain and get us all off the bunny hills. It reminds me that being outside, connecting with friends and my family is more than enough.

I might go find Santa somewhere with the little ones, I may go to a few parties or shows and I will definitely take some Nordic trails and lift laps with my people. Wherever we go, we know we will see familiar faces. We will get the chance to check in on how people we know are doing. Some may be thriving, and some may be struggling—there are plenty of struggles around and those simple interactions can make all the difference to people. Kebler Pass closed as of Tuesday, so we are that much more of a snowglobe community for the winter and we mostly only have each other. It takes a lot to leave our valley, and we generally seem to like it that way. We might as well keep it simple and look around often.

I look forward to purchasing the luminarias next week that will benefit CB State of Mind and the Gunnison Arts Center (see page 1 for details), and walking the streets with my family to see them casting out in the darkness to remind us all we are here together, in this place and time. I look forward to a few holiday traditions around town that give our kids that giddy feeling of magic in the air. I look forward to helping deliver holiday food boxes in the days before Christmas. Wishing my cousins and friends happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas and knowing that soon enough we will have a new year with new plans and schedules and ideas to get excited over. For now, I’m looking forward to celebrating the stoke of our snow and exhaling more often. Here’s to a snowy and simple holiday season ahead—post office lines and all. 

—Katherine Nettles

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