It probably goes without saying I wrote last week’s commentary about the unhinged state of our national politics before the tragedy at our nation’s Capitol unfolded. I knew the circus surrounding our country’s ringleader trying to stay in the spotlight despite unequivocally being shown the exit was loud and raucous, but little did I know the extent to which extremists would go to disrupt that bedrock of democracy that is — was — the peaceful transfer of power.
Columns & Opinions
What do you see when you look back on the past 12 months in your town, in your state, in your country? Did we come closer to truth and civility or fall further into lies and violence? Was it all equally bad, or did light shine through from time to time?
I grew up on a family farm my maternal great grandparents settled in the San Luis Valley during the Dust Bowl on a relocation land grant given to those whose farms were literally covered up by wind on the Eastern Plains. I will never forget sitting in their poorly lit living room in a small, two-story farmhouse surrounded by trees and a farm literally born out of nothing by their bare hands.
I expect that most people would rather forget, or at least do a rerun on the year 2020. Considering weather and climate, it was a year of extremes. We saw the biggest fires in Colorado’s history, although not so bad locally. Drought was in our picture all year, and some of the greatest hurricanes in history pummeled the Gulf Coast. It seemed like all of California was on fire most of the summer. Our governor declared the Grand Valley vineyards a disaster area, and warned all water districts and municipalities to prepare for emergency drought conditions.
Gunnison County’s response to the 1918 flu epidemic received renewed attention early on in the coronavirus pandemic. Through strict bans on visitors, like prohibiting travelers from stepping off trains, and the threat of jail time, the county mostly dodged the effects of an influenza strain that killed tens of millions of people around the world.
An onslaught of backcountry neophytes with dreams of powder glory has been a boogey man since March. With pandemic restrictions taking the fun out of resorts, many skiers and snowboarders would head into the backcountry for the first time. Ignorant to avalanche dangers, they would put themselves and more experienced users at risk Only by doubling down on avalanche education, especially for those new users, would we prevent an avalanche pandemic within a virus pandemic. So the story went.
“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. Get it, Mike? Christmas was, and is, supposed to turn things upside down. Remember? The little inn had no room for Mary and Joseph? Lowly shepherds were the first witnesses of the new baby, the hope for the world, born in a manger to homeless parents? A turn at the trough for the bottom of society?”