Thankful to be living in Salida

Quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. From a second floor window near First and F, with a view to S Mountain, things are looking good to me.

The sky is deep blue with a trace of snow on the hills and Monarch got 6” last night. Downtown where I live, it’s quiet as people enjoy family and a special meal. There’s a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is waking up every day to ever-changing natural beauty, a sparkling river and people who say hi to each other when walking, riding or driving around. How many other places are like that?

While the true value of Salida has always been its residents, we have also been fortunate to band together in recent years to build a first-rate school system, a nice new hospital and miles of trails – to name just a few tangible improvements.

In addition, Salida was chosen in 2012 to become one Colorado’s first creative arts districts. This is a credit to all the hard-working artists, gallery owners, musicians and performers, who struggle simultaneously to perfect their art, stimulate our curiosity and keep a roof over their heads. Without their continuing contributions, along with the teachers, coaches, service providers, shopkeepers, professionals and tireless volunteers who make their life here, Salida would have dried up and blown away long ago. Salida is today the sum of all those who have come before us and all who may wander by in the future.

Like many others, we stumbled into Salida as “tourists”. In fact, it was a Thanksgiving eve more than 15 years ago when we first felt the magic – snow fell on the downtown parade, covering the sheep and horses in the manger scenes on F Street. Not long later, we sold a business and our home and decided to make the rest of our lives here. The manger scenes with their animals are gone, but other elements have taken their place and yes, the small town wonder is still here, different, but attractive in new ways.

The pioneers who built our building bettered this rough town by raising an Opera House. The railroad workers, ranchers and farmers brought commerce, wine making and a self-reliant economy. Each of us today also puts our mark on the city in unique ways. Yes it’s not the same as “before”, but still good and full of energy and passion. Yesterday’s residents faced dangers from fire, disease and violence. Today we have senseless rampages with guns as well as a malaise that there is never “enough” (consumer goods, services or whatever).

As the New Year approaches, let’s reflect on all we have going for us in Salida. Take a moment to meet new faces – old-timers, newcomers and tourists alike. Each has stories to share and much to contribute to the quality of YOUR life, if you just take the time to get to know them. Yes there are still problems to be worked here but they are trivial compared to most of the rest of the world. They are solvable if we tone down the rhetoric and continue to work together.

Here’s to a bright 2013. Personal growth comes from thriving on change. It will nourish and strengthen you. Make each day a little better for those around you and keep this community a great place wherever the next bend in the river takes us.

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One Response to “Thankful to be living in Salida”

  1. Billy Carlisle

    Well put Merrell. My wife and I visited here about 8 years ago and fell in love with Salida. We were not looking for a new home or a reason to move, just passing through. Our 3 day mountain adventure became the next phase of our lives. No regrets, by the way. How many of those stories do you hear in Salida? It is almost always a good conversation starter here. Thank you for putting the Salida state of mind into words. Can I have your permission to copy this and use it? It is what I would like to say the next time someone asks me why I moved to Salida. I would definitely attribute you as I use it.

    The story I tell is similar to yours, but today I had another thought. I might add a personal note to say Salida seems like a gift. Today is Jesus' birthday, but I am the one receiving the gifts. I really think God decided to enrich and stretch my life when he dropped me off in Salida. That was an added bonus and I have delighted to see him at work in this place.

    Kind regards, Billy

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