Lance Scranton: The more things change …
It’s a double-edged sword: On one side, it’s nice to have some time to enjoy things, but on the other, it just seems like nothing much seems to be happening. Living in a culture that is wrapped up in immediate gratification and thrives on constant stimulation, it’s difficult to enjoy a slower pace because, sometimes, we get stressed out when things aren’t changing fast enough.
If your driving personality changes about the time you crest the last hill going into Denver, then you understand what I mean about the double-edged sword. I love going to Denver, because I’m usually there for a reason, and it’s really nice to have all the visual stimulation of a vibrant, busy city with all kinds of choices and opportunities to do so many things.
But, it’s just as rewarding when leaving the big city lights to head home to our small, quiet town that is nestled snugly on the outskirts, away from the metropolitan madness. If you know people from the city, it becomes apparent that, in the grind of daily living, most people stick to certain areas and places they know or have become favorites. It’s perfectly understandable, because we are programmed to enjoy the things we know and have become familiar with. Knowing other things are out there just helps alleviate some of the human nature-induced concern that you might be missing something or that the grass is greener somewhere else.
Change in a smaller town is more recognizable, because it happens at a slower pace, and more people who come into direct contact with it are aware of what’s going on. It’s easy to maintain some anonymity in a big city but it’s a bit more difficult when your town knows more about you than you are sometimes comfortable with or want to share.
Still, the “change” thing is something you can count on no matter where you live, and it’s sometimes of the type you don’t really desire.
Young people tend to flock to the city because of the boundless opportunities that present themselves and the employment or educational choices that make it an ideal place to get started. But small towns are the places that offer all the things that seem so stifling when you are younger: people (fewer), crowds (smaller), distractions (less) and stressors (traffic).
The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the saying goes, but I wouldn’t want it any other way, because change is our most reliable measuring stick for who we are and what we can become. Change is good, but it will be that double-edged sword unless we learn how to wield it and use it to our advantage.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.
June 5, 1920 dawned with clear blue skies and little if any wind; ideal conditions for an event that had drawn hundreds, possibly thousands, of people to Craig, Colorado.