So here we are on Thanksgiving, and Im trying to avoid the clichés that normally are bandied about on such occasions.
But anyway. Im going to bore you all with my list of thankfuls that begin with the people who are wedged into the couch next to me right now and extend to the place that we are all enjoying as we stuff our faces with the too many pies that we have put on the menu.
Despite my tendencies to focus on conservation issues, I need to start my list with an appreciation of the fact that my family has gathered in Durango to celebrate Thanksgiving with me and mine this year. Arriving from across the country New York, Connecticut and Tulsa, Okla. my parents and siblings are here in Durango, and their presence makes this holiday especially fulfilling. An important part of our decision to gather in Durango is the significance of the surroundings.
My 16 years of living in Durango have afforded my family and me many opportunities to explore the regions wild places, giving us a collection of adventures and resulting stories that enrich our time together. As a staging area for trips on the Dolores and the Colorado rivers, backpacking outings in the Weminuche Wilderness, fishing attempts on Hermosa Creek and many other desert and mountain explorations, Durango serves as a fundamental backdrop of my familys shared narrative. This legacy of places, outings and stories is something for which I am deeply thankful, and proud to work to protect.
From the time my brother and sister were the ages of my own children, the wild places of the Durango area have provided fodder for formative experiences that have become multigenerational. Jumping the cliffs in Cascade Creek simultaneously terrified and thrilled my then-elementary-school-aged siblings. My kids have now successfully run the same gauntlet. We have had intergenerational adventures into Chicago Basin some successful, some not. Some other time Ill recount the breaking and entering that resulted from one ill-fated attempt.
This weeks agenda does not include explorations of the San Juans or trips to canyon country. If we are unexpectedly motivated, we might take advantage of opening day at Durango Mountain Resort. But more likely, we will sit and load our gullets with obscene amounts of butter-enriched foods; the place in which we do so is nonetheless relevant.
As we all take inventory of our blessings, I encourage a look outside to the hills and valleys that encircle us. Remember your adventures and misadventures that took in all that our region offers and fueled your familys collective identity. Remind yourself, as I have, that our lives are as much shaped by our surroundings as the people who inhabit them. When the two can be combined, it is truly something for which to be thankful.
email@example.com Megan Graham is director of the San Juan Citizens Alliance.