Feels like winter today. There’s been a hint of it in the air, but today counts. The heat’s on officially in my condo and the snow line is headed to 8,000. You may wince at this, but I’m ready to ski. That being said, this fall has been one of the most glorious in recent history. The leaves just keep going and going in phases of green, gold and bronze. From SUP at Reudi, cold plunges at the grottos, jeeping up the backside, 14ers, rides to the Maroon Bells to a final hike up Ajax and Gondi download, our backyard is a natural wonderland. From Food and Wine, Ideas Fest, new eateries, Belly Up, art openings and galas, The Meeting Conference to the upcoming John Denver celebration, Aspen Connect events and Lead With Love intensive, our front doorstep is not too shabby either. I haven’t even mentioned the burgeoning art, music and foodie paradise of down valley, or the destinations that locals consider off the beaten path. The point is, we never lack in options to hike, bike, paddle, dance and eat our weight in wildcats around here.
Despite this dreamscape, we do face the same inspiring dilemma as our fellow humans, the urge to match the pace of the hyper-sped information highway that permeates our day-to-day on and off our screens as our seasons continue to change. We want to get it all in: the hikes, the film screenings, the fetes, the sports, the time with friends and family, while meeting the demands of emails, texts, deadlines and headlines. Call me biased but I think we are special. Like the award recently revived by the Aspen Film Festival, we are independent by nature and made independent BY nature. Seasons repeat and evolve so blatantly, so vividly. We cannot help but pause and take a respectful gasp of oxygen, at the very least. According to the authors Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms of “New Power”, who presented at this year’s Aspen Ideas Fest, this is “Generation C” for customization. You can choose your playlist and fine tune your Starbucks. You can pick and mix and match the parts you want personal and private. Ideas move through peer groups with more speed and power than ever. Dangerous ideas can spread as rapidly as good ones. The desire to get an immediate response can drive our day like the pace of a runaway train. Conscientious curation is key.
This morning I attended a 5th grade parent coffee including a Ted Talk on grit and perseverance. Topics included firming the building blocks of patience, creating foundations in learning and viewing set backs as a crucial part of growth. Last week I swear I drove by the high school field and saw a game in progress at 39 degrees in pouring rain. We’ve got grit. We have seasons that cultivate patience. Aspen may be plush, but it’s not for the weak at heart. We know the cycle of breakdown, repair, restart and breakthrough. Here we are. October again. For some, it is a pause as work slows; for others, it is as full-on as ever as deadlines continue or prep for the winter high season goes into high gear. We are lucky to live here where we have a chance to balance the fuel of fabulous progress with that of our footsteps. We are Aspen pilgrims one and all.