Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

How do you sum up a year for a community? Significant events happened to individuals — births, deaths, marriages, graduations — but in reviewing 2013 for the wider community, what comes to mind is our increasing awareness that a little bit is often enough.

In a society that tends to give us the message that bigger is better and more is the new plenty, it’s refreshing to embrace the adequacy of just enough, and all around the Methow Valley people seem to be showing gratitude for and contentment with what they have, as well as solving problems and making life better for those around them through small deeds and generosity.

The scant snowfall so far this season is really reinforcing the message that a little can be enough, as we glide along trails that are barely covered with snow, but which still allow for a good tour or workout. The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association has very little material to work with, yet the trails that are open are cleverly groomed and provide a skiing experience that is nearly as good as in years when we’ve been buried.

Fresh off a holiday season where agencies like The Cove and Room One report higher-than-ever need for services, it was noted that seemingly slight gestures from many people can have tremendous influence. Modest contributions of food, clothing, time and money enabled kitchens to be stocked, gifts to appear under the tree, and electricity bills to be paid. Small donations from some had a big impact on many.

The Dark Sky initiative demonstrated that a small group of citizens can effect greater change, as the protest over the rotating beacon at the Methow Valley State Airport resulted in the state recommending that the FAA allow a pilot-activated beacon instead of a continuous glaring light.  A relatively small group of people helped many to understand that a little light goes a long way.

Red McComb’s legacy humbled us all — the modest man who lived a simple life and left a possibly unprecedented impact on the valley through gifts to eight local nonprofits from his estate. Red was frugal, spending only what he needed to live comfortably — a little bit was enough for him.

Red’s approach is an inspiring one as we head into the new year full of good intentions, and if it motivates us to act on the gratitude we feel for what we have, that will be enough.