Gratitude

Photo: Cat Mayer

Photo: Cat Mayer

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  — Melody Beattie


Gratitude

We asked these Western Slope locals to weigh in on this topic.

Photo: Cat Mayer

Photo: Cat Mayer

Chris Wright

I am fortunate enough to live in a slice of heaven that we call the Grand Valley. I have discovered so many wonderful trails and friends with whom to share them. We always joke and give each other a hard time if someone misses a workout session. But in all honesty, if it weren’t for my friends and great company, the experience wouldn’t be the same. I am truly grateful for the friendships I have developed, and for the endless opportunities we get to experience here on the Western Slope. I feel blessed to have my health, family, friends, and a wonderful place to live!

Chris is an ultra marathoner in Grand Junction who regularly competes in the Leadman Race Series.

Photo: Kaylan Robinson

Photo: Kaylan Robinson

Erin Stephens-Marner

My Grandma Zella loved to tell stories wrapped in the magical light of being grateful for what you have. She grew up in the West during the Great Depression. As a child, I was obsessed with looking at her black-and-white photos and hearing stories about the daily hardships, struggles, and dreams of my family that had long since passed. Those photos and stories taught me that gratitude is a choice you make. I learned that you have to be open to being yanked out of your ordinary existence by the wonder the world holds for you — like the way this valley holds light, a new bud on a peach tree, or a cup of coffee before anyone else is awake. For me, gratitude is cultivating a reverence for the ordinary and being faithful to the idea that the world constantly offers reasons and gifts for living.

Erin is a ceramicist who lives and creates in her hometown of Palisade.

Photo courtesy Kyle Thornburg

Photo courtesy Kyle Thornburg

Kyle Thornburg

I can’t get enough of award acceptance speeches. Grammys, Tonys, Golden Globes, or a teary-eyed Oscar speech. How very Hollywood for the winners to receive bright, tidy endings for their projects and a stage to thank their supporters. Although I drool over that spectacle, gratitude takes shape a little differently in my life. For one, it’s not always a person I’m grateful for, but sometimes a song, place, community, or book. Growing up on the Western Slope, I eventually solidified my never-ending support network of family and friends. Gratitude comes back to us in karmic ways. We don’t quite have a choice to avoid gratitude when it grabs us by the shoulders, but we can choose to listen to it, share it, and send it on the rest of its cycle. I only worry I’ll never repay the people, the places, the learnings that sent me on my way.

Kyle grew up in Fruita and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.