How Living Close To Nature Can Change You

NICE view of sunflowers in garden and Spanish Peaks summer 2017

In 2014 we moved from Fort Collins, with the 6th largest county population in Colorado (333,577), to the least populated, Huerfano at about 6,500 souls. Huerfano county is the home of the Spanish Peaks, seen above…

The 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 a custom passive solar home to the west. As we complete our first full year of living in the foothills, close to nature, I find those who live in cities to be busy, always busy. What is that doing to their soul?

I feel I have learned so much on this topic by living close to nature for the past year. Getting far from any city has been a reawakening for me, and living here permanently is a wonder. I love to experience those unique emotional experiences which defy our habitual way of thinking. Living here has been all about defying my previous limited state of mind. I called myself “metrofied” before I moved here, but I had no idea how horribly stuck I was in “city mind.”


It is so soothing to observe how cities change us, and then leave, transitioning to a slower, calmer way of being. In my first year here I became aware of the constant anxiety level I maintained by living in cities. Then I slowly let it go. When I feel anxious now, 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 so much of the time back in Fort Collins, where the traffic was horrendous, and everyone was some form of tense.

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 don’t want to waste one more moment of my limited lifespan sitting in traffic and breathing city air.

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live in nature forever…

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

Laura and rasta close up

Want to learn more about moving from a good-sized city to the outback? Then check out my book: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado 

Share this information with your friends, and please feel free to contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me:

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15 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


  6. ah, just clicked over from your “wild and free” post. I’m not sure I could hack NYC if I didn’t have my paddling as an escape to nature.


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