I’m not sure what the Universe is trying to tell us. There’s a lot of stuff going on in both the world and the valley. Why can’t it all be super simple? There is, of course, Gaza and Israel, Ukraine, the presidential election featuring two men born before Israel existed as a nation, the local affordable housing challenge getting more challenging as construction costs and interests rates go up, the initiative to totally rethink Crested Butte before it goes all Breckenridge on us, Roman facing a potential recall in February, wolves or no wolves being introduced to the state through our valley, the Forest Service choosing to ignore good ideas reached through compromise for its new Forest Plan, and…and…and…

Maybe the message is to slow down. Stuff is going to happen no matter what, so take a breath and accept stuff. Sure, work to make the stuff better as it comes flying in but understand some of the stuff is out of your control. 

Maybe the message is to speed up. There’s only so much time left so stuff has to get done. If we just let things be, what happens to America’s democracy, to kids in the Middle East and Kiev, to housing for local workers hoping to get up here soon?

I’m writing this Tuesday while wearing a mask. I am donning the face covering not because I missed the warmth of the turquoise sheath protecting my mustache, and not because I have Covid — but because my wife does, and we were planning a trip west to visit our son for Thanksgiving. That road trip is not happening because I don’t want to be responsible for someone near me picking up the one droplet I might be carrying on my mustache whether I’m contagious or not. Hence the return of the mask. And as the news this week reported a significant uptick in Covid cases across the country, I can only imagine the mix of Covid stew we’ll begin to see here as travelers mix it up.

I trust the Universe so perhaps the road near Green River is going to collapse in a volcanic eruption and now Diane, Mojo and I are safe. Or maybe we just are dealing with a resurgence of Covid and masks do keep the face warm when it’s chilly after all. 

Maybe it’s all a reminder to be where we are. And we are of course in one of the sweet spots. We’re not in the hell of Gaza or the wasteland of eastern Ukraine. We are 8,000 feet up in a high mountain valley. It’s a valley that offers both wild nature and urbane opportunities. More importantly it attracts kindred souls, so it offers connection to those fellow spirits who have chosen to take the less travelled path that literally ends at the end of the road.

Working late I walked from the office to Elk to grab a slice since the regular joint a half a block away was not open. It was dark and the stars were bright. Jupiter continues to be a brilliant mark in the sky, probably reminiscent of the legend that something similar beckoned three wise men looking for a new king this time of year many centuries ago. On Tuesday this not-so-wise man followed the star to a meat slice — and it was delicious. Similarly, the ‘Venus star’ led me to the ski hill early Wednesday morning for the first uphill skin of the season. It was filled with people full of good energy. Let the Universe work.

Look, it would be easy to go off on any number of things roiling the valley and the world at the moment but timing is everything and the time for that is not now. It is Thanksgiving weekend and the start of a new ski season. I still love winter and all it brings. Halleluiah. 

If you are here as a resident or visitor, or know this place at all, you have something to be thankful for. It is not always an easy place, but it is a special place. The snow is coming and the mountains are stunning. The people are fresh and friendly. Late season burn-out is still a ways away and when it starts to creep in, the community thwarts the creep with things like Attitude Adjustment parties, Disco Nights, Al Johnsons, Alley Loops, Flauschinks and just the vibe of being able to get out and enjoy a nature that in other places would be a pain in the butt, but here is heaven. 

Following up on the front-page story about the hunter that thought he was going to die in our mountains after getting caught in a blizzard a few weeks ago, he noted on social media that in his depth of cold and darkness he wasn’t thinking at all about work, but was holding onto thoughts of family and friends. That is important perspective to remember and is what this holiday weekend is about. 

Despite all the stuff, this is not always an easy place but it is a special place…There is a lot of heavy stuff going on right now and I’m not sure if we should slow down or speed up. I am thinking we should be where we are. And we are here and that is a good thing—even wearing a mask.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone…

—Mark Reaman

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