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August 02, 2018


photo credit – Pete McBride

Gratitude & Community

Gina Cucina was conceived in the mountain towns and their Farmer’s Markets of Carbondale,  Basalt, and El Jebel. My heart has always been full of gratitude for these small communities.

On July 4th – our little mountain paradise exploded into a blaze that has consumed over 12,000 acres thus far.   A few good women and men literally saved hundreds of homes. Firefighters. First Responders. Forty of them held the line of a vicious blaze that nearly decimated our valley.  Their heroism, quick response & dedication on display is that of legends. Herculean.

At 10:42 PM on July 4th we received the first text – “prepare for evacuation”.  Four phones in our home went off. FOUR – at the same time. At 11:47 PM we received the second notice – it was now a “mandatory evacuation” notice.  There is something primal that happens when your children are threatened. I gave each a laundry basket and told them to pack what they wanted in that basket.  That’s it. My children had been long asleep at this point. We made it an adventure – we didn’t want them frightened, which seems completely incongruent with being awakened in the middle of the night to a child.  

My children started GRATITUDE journals when they were little – first, they were spoken, and when old enough, written. I have always believed that gratitude will make us happier, kinder, more resilient, increase our self-esteem and make us less envious.  

GRATITUDE.  This COMMUNITY we live in and everyone’s expression of gratitude has been beautiful.   It hasn’t mattered if their name is Johnson, Rodriguez, Williams or Hernandez. The community came together.  Evacuees were flooded with offers of extra shelter, food, clothing. Firefighters were revered for what seems to be a Sisyphean task.

Inspiring. Heartbreakingly touching.  Tearful and grateful residents have lined the streets as the firefighters returned to their camps for the evenings.  Local restaurants, businesses, and food service providers have donated meals, snacks, and beverages to the shelter managed by the Red Cross.

Signs are seen throughout the valley – businesses, private homes, EVERYONE showing gratitude for a community that pulled together and became closer because we realize we’re all in this- TOGETHER.  GRATITUDE. COMMUNITY.