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EDITORIAL: Grateful for all the things that make this valley special

Gratitude can change the world, if you let it into your daily life.

Gratitude can change the world, if you let it into your daily life.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout of what we are going through has been difficult, it is important that we do not lose touch with being grateful for all that we are privileged to enjoy as residents of the Bow Valley. 

Like our columnist Lorraine Widmer-Carson reminds us each month, gratitude can change the way you look at the world. It can help you feel happier and more fulfilled. It can change how you respond to stressful situations. 

Gratitude can help build community and that is what we would like to celebrate this week – our community here in the valley.

While we do have distinct municipalities, this entire region from Lake Louise to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country, is a community and it is one we are grateful to be a part of.

It is a privilege to be able to tell the stories of the people who call this place home. We have exceptional examples of those who have gone above and beyond to support each other through these tough times. 

From the Stone Soup Facebook groups, One Valley: Three Communities initiative, Food and Friends, to the great work of the Bow Valley Food Alliance to tackle food security in a time when unemployment reached levels never before seen in the tourism industry – are just a few examples. 

Our seniors, who are the most vulnerable to this virus, have been isolated for a year now. But in that year, we have seen school children, musicians, and the community at large show up to show them how much they are loved, valued and cherished. 

We are, in the end, doing this for them. As a community and a country, we have recognized human life is to be protected and the temporary suspension of some of the freedoms and conveniences we enjoy is necessary to achieve that. 

We are grateful for the front-line workers in our community, the retailer workers, nurses, teachers – everyone who has had a public-facing role in their jobs. It has not been easy, with the risk this virus presents, and dealing with those who have chosen to ignore scientific consensus and epidemiological evidence. 

We are grateful for the servers and restaurant industry for persevering through two shutdowns and being saddled with the responsibility of having to enforce COVID rules in their establishments. Rules that are complex and difficult to enforce when the entire world, let alone this valley, just wants to burst out of this bubble of restrictions. 

We are grateful for our municipal leaders, political and administrative staff, who have had to assess an unknown risk and decide how best to mitigate these circumstances in a thoughtful and pragmatic way. While residents of the valley may not always agree with their decisions, they have always been backed up with the rationale used to make them and willing to change course should circumstances require it. 

And we are grateful for you, our readers, who have continued to serve as the reason we do the work we do as a community newspaper. We are storytellers and our journalism can cover a wide range of topics – from the good, to the bad and the ugly. 

Finally, without the support of the businesses, organizations and groups that advertise in these pages each week, and online, we would not be here doing this work right now. Times have been tough financially for everyone, but without advertising, there would be no Rocky Mountain Outlook each week. 

With that in mind, we have taken some time to focus on the good this week and share our love for this place we call home. We are grateful to be here doing this work and sharing it with you every day.