What Does My Ideal Community Look Like? I live there!

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.


Old Bee-hive Lumber Kiln in Monte Vista

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.

Downtown Monte Vista

Downtown Monte Vista on a Saturday Night

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.


Sandhill Cranes “loafing” in the fields beside the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge

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.


17 thoughts on “What Does My Ideal Community Look Like? I live there!

    • I went to high school in the Springs (Mitchell). I’m up there a lot because I have good friends there — I wanted to move there when I retired, but when I was finally able to retire, prices for houses had gone beyond my budget. I love it down here so I think it worked out for the best! The cranes are extraordinary. It’s hard to believe them — and it really makes you think we humans are kind of self-important. Theses guys have been doing what they do for longer than people have lived here.

  1. I saw, or rather heard a couple of these cranes when I was up near Sault Ste Marie. Their call is distinctly different than the birds I’m used to further south at home. Later the same day, we came upon the birds grazing in a meadow. Spectacular creatures. I would love to see the migration.

    It sounds (and looks) like you’ve found a great spot to live.

    • I love their sound. I first heard it in January and I recognized it right away. A few of them flew over my house. I have found a great spot to live, Maggie. I have found a great place to live — I call it Heaven.

    • I was going to write about Gfenn, but decided that I don’t live there and I never will so I’d better put a good face on the fact that I live in an absolutely wonderful place and I can visit CH when I get the chance! 🙂

  2. I think your home town sounds perfect. I’d love to live in a place such as that if I were younger and had no reason to remain where I live.

    I think you chose wisely when you moved there from California. Sandhill cranes are wonderful birds and I always look forward to hearing them fly over in the fall. My area is part of a flyway and the birds that winter on the Gulf coast are not the same as those that you have where you live.

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