I love living in our small, quaint mountain town. Where the air is clean, people are friendly, and you can often get lost in a maze of switchbacks and not see anyone for hours.
In Park City, it doesn't take much for one to be completely alone. The kind of alone that seems more like an actual location than a state of being. I love that the barista at my local coffee shop knows my name and asks if I want the usual when she sees me. I like that my neighbors stop by for a chat and know my dogs by name. I like that on almost any given night, the sky is filled with stars, and there's no light pollution to dull them. And sometimes the moon shines so brightly I have to wear sunglasses and SPF 30 to bed.
I really do love this town.
But despite the hundreds of reasons I love living here, there are times the mountains seem like walls. And the walls close in on me.
Every year about this time, I start to crave a little city life. For reasons I can't explain, I long to hear horns blaring at me, sirens going off at all hours, and conversations in a language I can't begin to decipher. There's something about me that needs to be utterly ignored by a waiter at a restaurant, and to see his or her eyes rolling in exasperation when I ask for a refill of my water. I long for the stench of a Sunday morning in a city -- stale cigarettes, greasy foods meant to cure a hangover, urine on a sidewalk.
It's unexplainable, but I need to be harassed by a street vendor trying to sell me what he swears is a real Rolex.
In other words, I find myself desperate for a quick weekend in New York City. Which is where I spent last weekend. I fled under the guise that I'd be getting my Christmas shopping done. And while it's true I did buy one present, it was hardly an accomplished mission.
But, in the spirit of the season, this weekend in particular made me even more thankful for my life in Park City. In the past, I've always returned wishing I had one more day in New York. Sunday night I returned full of gratitude to live in such an amazing place, and so thankful to call it home.
And because Thanksgiving is just right around the corner, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves why we should give thanks for being able to call this glorious spot our home. And be thankful we get to visit places like New York City, and not have to live there.
So here are the top five things about Park City living I'm more thankful for now than I was prior to my latest trip to the city:
I will never have a panic attack over leaving my travel-sized hand sanitizer at home. I will never have to refuse a snack or be careful not to touch my face or otherwise fear my germ-infested hands because I held onto the railing in a subway or touched a door handle walking into a busy building and have no means to kill the revolting bacteria surely growing on them.
When my dogs have to pee in the middle of the night, it does not require me to put on shoes, a coat, my glasses, leash them, arm myself with pepper spray, and then walk down three flights of stairs and four blocks until I can find a patch of grass for them. They have a big, fenced backyard and a dog door. I don't even have to get out of bed for this.
When it snows in Park City, people are elated. There is a true sense of celebration and relief (unless it's May). Snow doesn't shut down our town.
Going to the grocery store is often just as social as going to a party. I can leave my house with a list of two items and return home an hour later. When my boyfriend wonders what took me so long, I tell him about all the people I ran into that I haven't seen in months and what they're up to now.
Even when our town is bustling, as it will be in the coming months, there is always space. You can always be alone and find quiet. You can always enjoy a star-filled sky. And thankfully, we can always just visit the places where this is impossible.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley. If you have a story idea, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.