After almost two years living in the foothills a few miles west of Walsenberg Colorado, I still struggle to find a way to help you understand how living here is so amazingly different from the suburbs of Fort Collins. Possibly you can imagine, this has been culture shock after culture shock for a couple of city people.
In fact, I wake up every morning and wonder for just a moment or so, where am I? Then I look out my glass doors at this:
…and I know this is no dream. This is one larger-than-life reality!
I try to explain to my friends who are still up in Fort Collins working, how this lifestyle change has changed me. But since they only come down for a day or two at a time, they cannot really understand how living here feels.
At first I was mainly freaked out. This world is so very different than what I’m used to that it scared me, especially since we had essentially put all our eggs in one basket on this one!
I see now why it was so hard for my original, stressed-out self to deal with this place. This is a whole world away from what most consider “life in America.” We have very few chain stores, and no reason to go shopping unless you need a few groceries. We have one movie theater showing one movie three times a week.
At times I feel like I moved to a different country (especially since this ridiculous presidential campaign started!) Now when I watch the national news I think, “Wow, those people are crazy… what a horrible way to live!”
Recently I heard someone down here say:
Most people don’t realize how much stress they have until they slow down enough to lose some of it.
That’s where I’m at now.
I get up most days and take a hike around our house, looking for interesting animal tracks. I’ve just started getting into bird watching, my cat is encouraging me. I have finally slowed down enough to have the time to think a lot about what I need to do before I die, and seeing the world is not on that list at present. I’d rather spend the rest of my life directly experiencing the American Southwest.
Although I’ve always had Buddhist leanings, I now feel more drawn to Native American philosophies. I imagine them travelling through the valley below us on their way to Bent’s Fort to sell animal pelts and get the latest news. I love to imagine someone from the 1800’s walking into our home now, and being shocked by the modern conveniences of today. But we should not let our easy lives convince us that we are more wise than those who came before us. Perhaps we are the idiots who will ruin the best life ever experienced on planet earth…I certainly hope not.
I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever. Please go learn more about our move from Fort Collins to here in my new memoir!