Whit’s End: Celebrating our Colorado community
I’m a firm believer that people are better when we come together. That can show up in big ways — take a look at this weekend’s “Letter to Congress: A Wild Sanity” — but community can also unite in mundane ways.
Community is the ease with which I fill in the blank when I’m asked for an emergency contact. It’s my confidence that I’ll find a ride home from having my wisdom teeth extracted, even though it’s in the middle of the day and I’ll need someone to monitor my reaction to anesthesia. (Let me tell you how excited I am. No, really. My coworkers are getting tired of hearing it.) It’s the way we share detour information on Facebook, and the conversations we engage in while gawking at the Grand Avenue bridge’s ongoing deconstruction.
It also takes time to find yourself truly immersed in a community.
I spent 14 years of my adulthood in and around Birmingham, Alabama. I know the city well, and I still keep up with its politics and new restaurants from afar. I miss being able to walk into Urban Standard, my favorite downtown coffee shop, and catch up with the staff and customers alike.
But I’ve found it much easier to connect in Colorado than I would have predicted — easier than it was in Alabama. That’s in large part because of Coloradans’ genuine openness and interest in those around them. It’s also thanks to events like Carbondale’s Our Town, One Table.
Sunday’s community potluck lined several downtown blocks with tables, and hundreds of people showed up to share a meal and a good time. I was nervous at first; I knew a handful of the people at my table, but I’m always intimidated by strangers. Luckily, few remain a stranger past the first 30 seconds of conversation.
By the end of the evening, I had more volunteers to help out after my oral surgery. I’d enjoyed a glass of herbal tea, composed of ingredients from a neighbor’s yard. And I was, again, reminded of the welcoming spirit that dominates this place.
We’re so fortunate to call it home.
Carla Jean Whitley is an introvert, but she loves hearing others’ stories. Got one for her? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.