Okay, sure…I have to drive an hour to even find a mediocre restaurant or grocery store which sells fresh vegetables other than broccoli, but yesterday I saw about 250 or 300 elk gathered in a huge open meadow I pass every day going to and from work. A few months ago I regularly watched black bears from my front yard; a sow and her cub walking up the road a few hundred yards away and once a huge cinnamon-colored bear spent the night and half the following day in a tree at the edge of my property.
Yes, it does get tiresome dealing with the muddy season that turns the roads slick and messy and stains shoes and jeans red, as we have few sidewalks here; but I do get to listen to owls calling at dusk and watch hulking buzzards open their wings to the morning sun, warming before taking to the air lifts and soaring off to look for food.
And it is a challenge to figure out what the local deer really are not interested in eating so that my garden can grow, but it is also refreshing to know that a traffic-jam here is five or six deer mincing across the little 2-lane highway that is also our Main Street.
I don’t miss the stench of cars and busses and in fact rather like the odiferous presence, at a distance, of the skunks which must live near here, by the river. I even see them from time to time, one was as big as a cocker spaniel, waddling across a yard.
In the city of Denver we had Robbins and pigeons of course, but to see a true variety of birds, I had to go to the park. There I did see waterfowl and even the occasional Great Blue Heron; but here I see them regularly…and not begging handouts of cheap white-bread from children, nor do I slip and slide in the copious amount of guano at the edge of the water. In my little rural town I see Golden Eagles, Osprey and Bald Eagles fishing for their own food in the lakes around town. I share an image taken by my friend Jerry; bear feet in a tree in the middle of town.
In Denver when someone says ‘towards the mountains’, one often has to go several blocks to even get a slice of a mountain view, but here, nestled against them I feel their presence all the time. There is a wildness in the air that you can actually feel when you can watch the weather spilling over a ridge and thick, white clouds, rimmed in charcoal, bringing a bone-chilling end to what had started out as a bright, sunny day.
While I no longer live off-grid and cannot afford to move back to the city, living where the deer and the antelope roam is not a bad thing…and there is such a thing as quality of life.
Home really is where the heart is and waking up to cattle lowing or a donkey braying really is a good thing.