I love the post-Christmas silence. People have been busting their butts for the past month and now they’re finished. They have a week, a week that will culminate in a New Years Eve party, and back to it, whatever it is they do normally. Not that the San Luis Valley is a very rocking place except during harvest, the big push to get everything in at the optimal moment.
I never before lived in an agricultural community, but I’ve always had a proclivity for remote places and small towns. As a kid I heard all the time about my mom’s life on the family farm, about summer jobs hoeing sugar beets, uncles working on the huge wheat farms, the coming through of the combine crews, about killing pigs and selling calves, collecting eggs, evading turkeys. It sounded like a hard — but great — adventure to me. As a grownup visiting in Montana, when I drove through towns like Roberts or Belfry (where my grandparents and Aunt Martha are buried in the cemetery my grandfather started) I always thought, “It would be nice to live here someday.” I wasn’t joking. Belfry and Roberts are small towns on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone river.
I never minded the sometimes brutal cold of Montana winters, either, but I didn’t really like the short winter days. As it happens, Monte Vista — otherwise known as Heaven — is very similar to those Montana towns, but it’s a little larger (a good thing). There is the Rio Grande from which mist rises in the winter, a beautiful phenomenon. And here I have (usually, but not this year so far) nice “brutal” winters, and longer days all under a marvelous big sky where the future is written in clouds.