Daily Prompt Idyllic What does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?
Monte Vista is just a little Colorado town in the middle of the San Luis Valley. 4000 people live here. It’s an agricultural community and it’s poor. People who live here love it and much of the stuff that goes on here (including the movie theater) is run by volunteers. People are nice to each other and to strangers. The photo above is both my street and the main east/west highway across southern Colorado, HWY 160.
There are many beautiful turn of the century homes. Most of the big buildings — churches, banks, stores — are made of the native stone. It’s a National Historic Site. It had a “hey-day” during the times of the railroad when all the little towns could be reached by rail (a system we should revive). Now it’s struggling to hang on but it will hang on. Most of the business buildings downtown are empty — Walmart is only 12 miles away and we know what that does to the economy of a small community. It’s hard to keep a small business going when you have to compete with Walmart.
Every year more than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes arrive in the fields in the San Luis Valley and they congregate in the waters of the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge. The cranes have been coming to this valley for thousands of years. It is the ONE major event in my town and it’s big. People come from all over the world to see the cranes — this past March, I heard several languages on the school bus on which I was riding. It’s well organized and interesting. Tours are led by local naturalists.
The town is surrounded by potato and barley fields. My role in the town so far is to add to the economy and be the reclusive older lady with the fiercely protective black dog.