How Living Close To Nature Can Change You


I am just finishing up a memoir I hope to publish soon. It’s about my own personal transition from living in cities for most of my life, to country living. We recently moved from Fort Collins, with the 6th largest county population in Colorado (333,577), to the least populated, Huerfano at about 6,500 souls.

Walsenburg city limits signThe Huerfano means orphan in Spanish, and so many of us here are orphans, because we are elders. We lived in the town of Walsenburg (pop. 3,000) for our first year here, while building our custom passive solar home. We are now completing our first full year of living in the foothills quite close to nature.

 Writer Kathy Gottberg recently provided us with a wonderful summary of the differences between living in cities versus getting out in nature in her post:         Why Wonder and Awe May Be The Cure For Worry, Fear and Narcissism.           The part of her piece I relate best to:

“…we are busy, always busy and just don’t have time. But what is all of that doing to our soul?” 

I feel I have learned so much about this topic by living in nature for the past year! Getting far from any city is a reawakening for most of us, and living here permanently is a wonder. I related best to Kathy’s description of those unique emotional experiences, which defy “one’s habitual way of thinking.” Living here has been all about defying my previous state of mind. I called myself “metrofied” before I moved here, but I had no idea how stuck I was in “city think.”

It is so soothing to observe how cities change us, and then transition to a slower, calmer way of being. In my first year here I have become aware of the constant anxiety level I maintained by living in cities. Then I slowly let it go. When I feel anxious sometimes, I quickly see there is truly no reason for this feeling. Now, only when I get impatient or angry do I realize that I used to feel that way often in Fort Collins, where the traffic was horrendous, and only getting worse.

Mike at home

The true change for me is the awareness that I can now live in the present. I have been seeking this experience for most of my life. Instead of worrying about the past or demanding more in my future, I can just be here now, loving my life. The down side to this new way of being? Great difficulties going back into cities!

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever…

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”  —   Henry David Thoreau

Want to learn more about the experience of moving from the city to the country to live a quiet, relaxed life? Check it out here!

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14 thoughts on “How Living Close To Nature Can Change You

  1. Hi Laura Lee! I am so glad that my post inspired you to write this one and to continue your own memoir about your transformation! As you know, I call such a reinvention–“rightsizing” and you definitely qualify. I had never heard that word “metrofied” before today but it makes sense. And like you say, we often don’t even know when we’re deeply entranced by it all. I love that I’ve followed along on your blog and watched your life change. It is inspiring to us all. ~Kathy


  2. AHHH, deeply entranced by it all. I LOVE THAT! City living can turn into a trance when you’ve never tried anything else. Yes, I love making up words like “metrofied” and “academ-idiots.” I think we need more words! My new book will cover up until August 2015, but I think I may use some version of this post for my epilogue!


  3. Your words really called to my soul. We live in a small town that has seen exponentially high growth to where we now live on a thoroughfare not a quiet country road. Its awful. We visited family in South Dakota two summers ago and those great big skies linger with me and call to me. I loved your post. Gives me hope that one day maybe we can find a place to breathe.


    • So, “those great big skies linger with you” do they? The skies here did the same for me every time we came to visit before we moved here.
      And they say Montana is “Big Sky” country…. A place to breathe free is what everyone is seeking and few are finding.


  4. Hi! I am about to embark on my next phase of life…leaving Texas for the quiet woods and skies of Colorado (away from the cities) Your words here really spoke to me as I enter the part of second guessing everything!
    Thank you


  5. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m thinking about moving back to the city!! Eeek! Trying to stay in the middle of nowhere, by myself, is often lonely. Last week I had dinner with some girlfriends in the city. After a 40 minute drive home to the country, I had an ah-ha moment. All of my friends and my support system are in the city and since James died, I feel like I’m trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole out here. I’ve always wanted to live in the country, and I’ve experienced that. It was life-changing, and I will take those things and keep them close if I move back to the city. I see Dawn’s comment about leaving Texas for Colorado and wish her great happiness and contentment. xoxo, Brenda


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