Sunday, February 17, 2008

invasion

We "locals" have a very unique situation here in Summit County. The population swells incredibly at key times of the year. Our usually sleepy, small towns become extensions of Denver (and the rest of the United States) during key weeks and weekends in ski season.

A friend recently e-mailed me a video about how the busyness in our lives can crowd out a meaningful relationship with God. I can remember a life with the examples that were given, but my usual day-to-day life here doesn't really resemble the hectic urgency that you tend to find in cities and suburbs. My life in Summit County is peaceful, calm, and full. As I watched the video, I felt blessed to realize that my life here in the mountains isn't fueled by consumerism, noise, and stress. That is, until the tourists arive...

It's a double-edged sword. The tourists are the reason that I am lucky enough to have a full-time, year-round job in this gorgeous location. I'm in an industry that seeks to show them a good time and get them to return. Part of my potential bonus hinges on how profitable we are as a resort. I do believe in our objective because I want people to experience the wonder of this setting. The fact that this beauty gets to be shared by so many makes me happy. Also, at times (like the end of this week and the middle of next month), those tourists are actually my friends or family and I'm honored to host them. I get the gift of seeing them because they want to visit this incredible place. If I lived in Podunk, [insert state name here], I wouldn't have nearly as many friends and family wanting to visit. These are a few reasons I'm grateful for the influx of people to the county.

It's hard to feel grateful, though, when out-of-state license plates jam up the roads and make a simple trip to the (one) grocery store in town a nightmare. It's difficult when your usual restaurants are filled to capacity with guests and you can't get a table. The ski slopes are overrun with timid people whose path is hard to predict and the lift lines are terribly long. Everything feels more crowded, louder, and busier. The relaxed pace of this county goes away and even though things aren't faster (you can definitely tell that on the roads!), it feels much more stressful. It gets so much harder to appreciate the mountain ranges when you're staring at tail lights. It helps a little to realize that the reason they're probably driving so slowly is because some of them maybe have never seen views like these and they're totally in awe. But, in the end I just want to pass them and escape from the crowds.

The thing I find funny is that the hightened pace created by the crowds feels calm and serene to most of the people who visit, relative to their usual routine. What does that say about their everyday lives? Hmmm...

Putting up with the invasion of visitors is the price I pay for having the privilege to live in such an amazing place. I'll take it.

3 comments:

TZ said...

i'll be one of those blasted tourists soon!

Ruth said...

Didn't you read the part that talked about how happy I am that my friends and family are visitors sometimes? The "later this week" visitor reference applies to you and I'm glad about it! See you soon!

Anonymous said...

i know...i am just joking around ;)