The Boulder I see.
The Boulder I grew up with was innovative, caring for our planet, inspiring to other cities. Today, not so much. There are still good people doing good work, but they are not supported enough.
The Boulder I see today is in many ways tired, living off is reputation from eras past, inspiring not in our tech or wealth or shopping at Amazon/Whole Foods/chains.
The Boulder I see today is discouraged, or even depressed, or even defeated in our confidence to be able to take on complex issues wisely and pragmatically and compassionately.
The Boulder I see knows we are inaccessible to new diverse citizens attracted here by that dream that is Boulder.
The Boulder I see today tolerates 50,000 folks driving in every day to work here, tolerates our friends moving away each year, tolerates the floods and fires without real protection, tolerates our houseless friends going to bed at night in freezing temperatures, stumbling around in 100-degree days without mental health or addiction care.
We’re not happy with any of it, but we don’t know what to do, or how we as a community, fractured, splintered, angry with one another, could ever cooperate to do it.
But I was born here, and I love this community still, and I talk and listen with all of you as I roam around, and I remember the spring running quietly beneath the noise and rush. Let me remind you of a little truth:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Saint-Exupery
I can feel a Boulder that is stronger, more caring, more fun, more just. Can you, too?
“Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” ~ Tennyson, Ulysses
The Boulder I feel is up to the challenges of this generation: we can double affordability, working with wonderful folks like Boulder Housing Partners. We can go house-to-house with information on hardening your home against fires, floods, with information about subsidies to replace your dry wooden fences if you so choose, to go fracking-free and clean the indoor air pollution in your home.
We can help those who would raise families here do so through our middle income home-buying assistance program, and double that too.
We can learn from the successes and mistakes of other municipalities: both enforcing the camping ban and, quickly, urgently, creating a campground or day shelter where our houseless friends can go, be warm, safe, bring their dogs, and get the care they need to resume lives of fulfillment.
We can work together, even when we disagree, which is the secret recipe we have all forgotten. We can cease seeing the worst in one another, and join together and pitch in.
We can inspire other cities and towns in how we work with Nature—getting bikes out of cars’ way (for reducing traffic benefits all of us). We can push Xcel to fulfill their promises (going solar/wind much faster, and burying alley lines, say) or get out of the way.
We can do needful things. There is a Boulder we all feel, just below the surface, and it begins in our willingness to care out of love, not pre-judgement.
Some may be more comfortable in helpless, “spiritual” bypassing, useless optimism, which accomplishes nothing.
Some may be more comfortable in their cynicism; let them move on as they do—they never invested in Boulder as a home sweet home, anyway.
For the rest of us, let us invest our care in one another and make Boulder weird, wonderful, diverse, accessible, safe, and inspiring for another generation.