Thursday, January 14, 2010

Country vs CIty

I was cruising around the blogs today and found this one and it reminded me of a post I wrote back in 2006. I thought I'd re-post it for any who care. So...

One of the coolest things I’ve read in a long time was Sheila’s account of her experience traveling through Colorado many years ago. Recently, my wife and I were driving through Colorado and Utah and I kept thinking what it would be like for someone who spent their life in places like New York City, Chicago, LA, or even Atlanta, to see the West for the first time. How they would react if they were suddenly exposed to not only the wonder and majesty of the wide-open spaces and towering peaks, but to the lifestyle of those that live out here. Not those that live in Denver or Salt Lake City, but those that live in the many small high mountain towns; I mean really live there. Not the big city folks who spend a few weeks or months in their high country “cabins”; but the folks that make their living here. Those that work in the agriculture industry, or the family owned local restaurants.

I imagine it would be as foreign to them as my first big city experience was to me. I grew up in a town of 1500 people, and my high school class had 52 students before the dropouts and flunkies. This school had students from two different towns, and about a 20-mile radius of all the farms and ranches. The first time I was in a real metropolis scared the crap out of me. I was (still am to a degree) claustrophobic from the crowds of people, and not being able to see the horizon; sometimes for days! I imagine someone from the big city would have similar feelings of anxiety. Looking out across the horizon for 50 – 60 miles with no sign of civilization would be frightening as well as inspiring. I chuckle at the thought of having someone from NYC come visit us at the house we’re building back in my small hometown.

First, they would have to fly into Denver, and then be driven for 5 – 6 hours along two-lane state highways to a town with one traffic light. Finally, finish the trip out on eight miles of dirt road to a solar powered home with the nearest neighbor barely visible down the canyon. During the night, coyotes howling along the dark ridges would serenade them and if they get up early enough, they would see wild deer standing outside their window.

Mountain living is definitely laid back. I remember several years ago, my in-laws were visiting us in Colorado. My wife and I were camping on our property (where we’re now building our house) for two weeks in a tent, while the family stayed in town at an RV park. We were making dinner at the RV park, and realized we didn’t have any baked beans, and since it was a Sunday afternoon, the market was closed. (no such thing as a 24 hour market here!) I said I would run up to the camp and grab a can or two, which Grandma thought was ridiculous since it was close to 20 miles round trip. To us, it’s just part of life. You have to plan ahead and be willing to be flexible when needed. You want to see a movie? Fine, the nearest theater is at least 16 miles in the next town, and they have one screen!

Driving back through Utah that week, we were between Monticello and Moab as the sun was setting. The vermilion landscape was bathed in a blazing sunset of yellows, oranges, red, and purples; I wish I had the skill to describe the over-whelming BEAUTY of that vision. Its times like those that I’m reminded how lucky I am to live where I do. I like the big city, but Love my mountains. My Mom told me something a long time ago as I was leaving to join the Air Force; “The Mountains will always be here, and you will come back someday cause they get in you blood and will always draw you back.” In other words, I guess you can take the boy out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the boy. Corny I know, but oh so true. I just wish everyone had the chance to REALLY see and experience them.

12 comments:

alison said...

Beautiful read

Rude1 said...

Thank You Alison!

Buckskins Rule said...

The first 39 years of my life I was a "city boy", although it was cities of the west, which are a far cry from Eastern cities (thankfully), at least in my humble opionion.

Nevertheless, I always felt like a fish out of water. I felt the call of the country life. While not living anywhere near so remote as yourself, I've achieved a good compromise between lifestyle and work, the only sacrifice being a 35 mile commute. Which I find to be well worth the trouble. I can saddle up the horse and ride the Puyallup River, or walk 10 minutes and fish the Carbon River. A 30 minute truck & trailer ride puts me and the horse firmly in the middle of nowhere, a place that I find myself to be quite comfortable in.

Great post, my friend! I think I'll have to link to it.

Laura said...

In my life so far I've gone from city living, to country living, and back to city living. I would chew my left arm off to get back to the country. The Bluegrass of Kentucky calls to me.

Rude1 said...

BR, I know what you mean, my wife was like that. Born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, but always wanted to live out West in the country. SHe finally feels "home".

Laura, I grew up country, then obviously spent most of my adult life in or near cities due to the military life. The mountains always were calling to me and now I'm finally home.

Buck said...

Ah... I've done both Big City and country living and the rural life fits best at this point in time. But I can't begin to tell ya how shocked I was when arriving at some of my radar site assignments in the way-back. One just doesn't even begin to think there are places in these United States that can qualify as "isolated" tours. But there are, and lots of 'em, too.

veriword: thurs. Fail - it's Mon, google-idjit.

Rude1 said...

Oh yeah Buck, I've had to visit one or two of them! two weeks from anywhere! lol

Gordon said...

I grew up in a small town in New Mexico, and now live in Minneapolis. I miss the vast horizons, but I also like the forests and lakes here.

The clouds are different here, too.

Rude1 said...

Oh yeah Gordon, Minn lakes are incredible! I know what you mean about the clouds; I visit Northern Iowa and Southern Michigan a lot and the clouds really are different.

Rude1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon said...

They are, Rude1. In Portales, you're 60 miles from the nearest significant body of water (the Pecos river). Draw a five mile circle around my house here and there's seven major water bodies, and lots of smaller ponds.

Anonymous said...

Ralph
Very well put and you are right about taking the boy out of the mountains but you can never take the mountains out of the boy. I enjoy the valley area more now than ever before. I remember driving from Del Norte to Monte Vista a few years ago in March and noticing the Blanca snow covered mountains, just spectacular, I never even noticed them when I lived there.That reminds me we need to line up some roads to build in August.