The culture-shock continues at this end. I remember daily my surprise when we first moved here from busy, expensive Fort Collins last summer. Walsenburg is very small, quiet and poor.
Back then, every time I went out to my car to go somewhere I would think, “Where the hell am I?” Ours was fundamentally a move from one of the richest cities in Colorado to the absolute poorest. Yes, this was a challenge to the way I saw myself.
About once a month we would go eat breakfast at the local greasy spoon, that cafe that has been on Main Street for a hundred years. Phyllis, the owner, cook, and waitress would always ask, “Where are you from?” We would always answer, “Here.” It took her a few months to accept the fact that we would be coming back monthly.
Last time I was there, I asked her to sit down for a minute and tell me about Walsenburg. She said it used to be a nice little town, back when there were still some good jobs left. She said downtown was buzzing back then, but since the mid-1980s it’s been going downhill. Now some believe the influx of people and dollars for cultivating marijuana will save the town. She’s not so sure, but hopes for the best.
Now, after one of the most stressful years of my life because of the major challenges of moving into a very old house in a sad little town, and then completing a home in the foothills west of here, I again feel culture shock.
After a lifetime of living mostly single, extensive world travel, constant change, and relentless uncertainty, I live now in an amazingly peaceful place with my loving husband and great puppy. Sometimes this feels like a dream, where I’m staying at a beautiful mountain resort, wondering when the management is going to kick me out!
How did this happen? How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?
It’s a long story, one I can now share with you!