Billings: Time to slow down

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It’s that time of year again — the beginning of the holiday season starting with Halloween this week.

When I first moved here some 20 years ago, I was told that we had our first snow around Halloween. Ha! Not anymore. This year certainly proved that. I was also told that you put on long underwear in October and take it off in May. Now, coming from a big city, I thought that was just about the most ridiculous thing I had heard of. Guess what? For me, that is certainly true, although this year it was on and off in September. Crazy weather patterns — but of course, there is no such thing as climate change. So who is the fool here? Some big government officials think climate change doesn’t exist. What planet do they live on?

So let’s get back to the holidays. Even as a child, I never was into holidays. I am a person of routine and holidays disturb that routine. And when you have livestock — in my case, a herd of horses — (you know it is always about them for me) they don’t care what day it is. Just make certain that they have their water and feed. And of course, there is mucking the stalls everyday….no holiday there. One day is just like the next. The horses don’t stand in the paddock or their stalls and say, “Oh goody — it’s Halloween or Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or even Valentine’s Day.” They just don’t care. And neither do I. So am I a “Bah humbug” kind of person? I don’t think so.

With Halloween, thoughts of Ichabod Crane, the headless horseman and the Legend of Sleep Hollow come to mind. A wonderful short story by Washington Irving. But I digress.

On holidays sometimes people get stupid when they are going about town, particularly if they are driving and have had something to drink. Oy vey! Be safe. And speaking of the safety of humans and animals, here are some facts.

Did you know that over the last few months, four dogs and one cat (mine) that I know of, have been killed by a moving vehicle? Also one horse out on the highway was struck and mortally wounded and had to be put down, while another right in town was spooked by a vehicle and broke his hock and had to be euthanized. People, be aware of your surroundings and please slow down. I thought that this was an animal friendly community….at least it used to be. Colorado is an “open range” state. Believe it or not, animals have the right of way. I think some drivers are in a stupor. They don’t hear or see anything. Their vehicle is on auto pilot and they are also. Don’t let that be you. Slow down!

So this Halloween and all the holidays that follow, please be safe, be aware, slow down. After all, isn’t that why we moved here? To live life at a slower pace!

Okay, I’ll step down off my soapbox now. But not until I say that you won’t catch me riding Libby around town. I never liked to ride my horses in town before, although I have on occasion. Horses generally don’t like cars, and with the crazy drivers around here I won’t take that chance. Too many people, too many cars. And let me say that some bicycle riders aren’t very aware either. From my observation, a lot of young people fall into this category. Perhaps the speed limit is too high. It’s 25 in town, Ouray also, but in Telluride, it’s 15. Although I certainly don’t want to compare us to Telluride. Heaven forbid! At least that is my point of view. Some of you may agree, some may not. Ouray, Ridgway and Telluride are all quite different.

Tonight at chorus practice, we were practicing a Christmas song, and I must say that it did bring back some nostalgic memories of holidays with family and friends, so I guess I have enjoyed some in my past. Also thought of going into winter and the cold and the snow, and that didn’t make me very happy. It’s not even Halloween and it’s snowing again. Wonder what this winter is going to be like. Guess that remains to be seen.

So enjoy each and every day whether it’s a holiday or not. I know I will. The horses will also…..they told me so.

Alice Billings is a resident of Ridgway, Colorado, a painter, an artist, an author and friend to animals everywhere.