How to sum up a year like 2021? Chinese Astrology deemed it the “Year of the Metal Ox,” which I associate with a lot of hard work. And indeed it was.
Mentally, emotionally, physically — we’ve all been challenged to rise above exceedingly difficult circumstances. Or, at least, to rise out of bed and seek beauty somewhere.
Thankfully, we’re made small by the epic beauty of the Rocky Mountains that surround us, hunkered between rivers and gleeful beneath it all.
All said, the year that may have topped 2020 for demanding inner strength is nearly concluded. Amid “back to normal” expectations in a fundamentally changed world, we’ve made it to the grand psychological reset that is New Year’s Eve.
What lies beyond the threshold of midnight, Jan. 1, is yet unwritten. A year from now, the stories we tell about 2022 will depend on how we choose to live each day. May the motivations behind our actions be known to us. May we choose to operate from the wisdom of our hearts, above all else.
It is a special opportunity to view the unfolding of a year through the lens of a weekly newspaper and its myriad stories.
The flavor of 2021 was unrelenting: year two of a pandemic, small-town outgrowing its character and social fractures widening globally. I take pause and offer gratitude.
First, to you. The reader. Whoever and wherever you are, choosing to give thought to these words, I thank you.
Second, to our board of directors. This valley knows the effort it takes to sustain a nonprofit. Your time, attention and devotion to our mission keep us true.
Donors — you affirm a nonprofit’s value. Bless you for giving of your earnings that organizations like ours may exist. Likewise, thank you to our advertisers for choosing to be seen in The Sopris Sun.
Of course, a cheers to the dedicated people that make this newspaper a weekly reality. Namely, Todd Chamberlin going after the money, big and small.
James Steindler, made contributing editor in July, my camel’s back would have split around then had you not joined the fray as a part-time employee. The exuberant charm that you imbue into each issue is beyond articulation.
I offer a special thanks to Ylice Golden, who taught me many things, every day. Ylice, your mark on The Sopris Sun was substantial and we’re better for it. Thank you for mentoring me into the print medium over this past year.
I am grateful to Will Grandbois, another teacher, for stepping in as a graphic designer these past few weeks and sharing more of the insight that distinguishes this paper.
To the freelance team and all guest contributors, The Sopris Sun would be a shell without you — devoid of the diverse perspectives that give it vibrant relevancy and life. The artists that lend their talents to making every paper a classic are also profoundly appreciated.
And how would the paper arrive in anyone’s hands without the fearless tenacity of a great distribution person? Through the summer madness of relentless landslides and into the icy uncertainty of winter, Crystal Tapp, Fred Kischbaum and each fill-in have gotten the job done without fail.
While we count our blessings, I’d be remiss not to mention the inspiring field of journalists that keep the craft alive and well in the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys. The Sopris Sun’s own youth journalists, too, give us hope and motivation for carrying forth the torch that is this timeless essential service: the keeping of our local stories.
I am proud to have completed a year now as editor. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility that I do not take lightly. I thank each person that has helped me along the way, maintaining this publication accountable to journalistic virtue, its rich historical origins and the current needs of our region’s people.
On behalf of The Sopris Sun, we look forward to experiencing this coming year together with you, our neighbors and friends. Never hesitate to drop us a note, continue a conversation in the letters, pitch a photo or story opportunity and think about contributing yourself. What defines community media is the community it represents. That remains our focus.
Until next week, remember that you feed the world.
So make it good.