Beth Brandon

It’s hard to ignore that our little town has had a lot of heavy news of late.

Last winter it was all about the drought and nothing but the drought. As we swing the pendulum to the other side, we’re seeing the other end of extremes. We had nearly 6 feet of snowfall in 10 days. We saw (never before by me) Category 5 extreme avalanche danger. And after a mile-wide avalanche are relatively unscathed, save for the permanent change of landscape. And we’ve lost a handful of young souls before their time. I just can’t ignore it.

I think everyone is feeling all the feels right now. Soaring highs met with valley lows. It’s life in the mountains. And while I would never want to grow accustomed to death by avalanche, skiing or suicide, they all seem to be part of life around here. “Aspen Extreme” is much more than a classic ski movie.

The joy of multiple powder days is great. And while they elicit ear-to-ear grins, they are exhausting. If you were able to enjoy any of that snow, you know what I’m talking about. I missed the big Thursday dump, but as I went to work at 9 a.m. that day, I was OK because abundance has been the theme for the winter. I’ve enjoyed plenty of powder and was not-so-secretly alright with a day off. JOMO.

The election came and went, and will change the face of Aspen Mountain forever. I agreed with parts, just not the whole, but the ship has sailed as far as that argument is concerned. Let’s just ski Norway and enjoy the current landscape as is for a little while longer. Adjust you must if your vote fell into the 49.6 percent.

Living life to the fullest can be hard, exhausting, euphoric and utterly heartbreaking. I made a decision awhile back to do just that, live life fully. I think many of us here have agreed to the same. We have a glorious playground at our fingertips, so why not try it all? That said, you can’t have highs without the lows. That’s the part I think Aspen may need help coping with, especially right now. Feeling sad is just necessary sometimes. Whenever I try to put it off, I’m met with a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. The wave’s gotta crash at some point.

The local news of massive avalanches, elections and snowfall would have been enough to keep up with in any year, but unfortunately the news has also included more than our fair share of tragedy. Life in Resort Town, USA, keeps going even though it hurts behind the scenes.

Among all the flurry and fanfare of natural-high induced powder days is some serious grief. Arin, Michael, Owen, Tyler, Aaron and Georgia. The list is too long and likely not complete. You all are in our hearts and memories forever and will be loved longer than your short lives here on Earth. I mean that with the utmost of respect and know you will be honored accordingly.

In this town we feel every piece of ground-shaking news together. It’s hard not to. We’re tight-knit even if we were on opposite sides of the 1A question.

There’s something to be said for that small-town feel that comes up both as camaraderie on a powder day or as a net of support among us when we lose our bets with the nature that we so adore here. Or when we succumb to something sad and painful, deep within, that just blows out like a flame.

   You can choose to ignore if you like, but it just doesn’t go away. It’s as heavy as the spring snow.

It’s OK to go fetal. Watch “Beaches” or “Old Yeller” or “Steel Magnolias.” It’s OK to let it all out and cry until you’ve got snot bubbles. If you feel like something’s off, maybe it is. Ask a friend to come over for dinner, or take a walk outside. Walking and talking can be great medicine.

Or call a professional. They’re trained to help you through the tough stuff. It’s easy to get caught up in the thick of it. Sure, we’ve had our fair share of highs in the past weeks, but it’s the lows that are tougher to navigate. And when I don’t know how to do something, I usually stare at it in wonder, try again, then start asking friends how they did it and then, if all else fails, call a professional. You wouldn’t let your plumbing back up so that you couldn’t use the sink, right? Not for long, anyway. So why should your mental health be any different?

I write about it because I care about this place and the people who live here. It’s actually really healthy if you deal with the elephant in the room instead of continuing to pretend it’s not there. We are stronger together and here for each other, so call on those around you, whether or not it’s you who needs the check-in.

Aspen Hope Center’s 24-hour hotline is (970) 925-5858.

Beth is feeling all the feels. She can be reached at bethabrandon@hotmail.com.

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