July 24, 2006

More on colorado

Nathan responded to my tired post from last night:
Having just driven from Denver to Cheyenne last month... it was a disappointment leaving the beautiful front range only to arrive... nowhere.

Yeah, I understand. Cheyenne is not the prettiest part of Wyoming. My comments are really more about the traffic and kind of blatant consumerism of the front range. SUV's pulling speed boats kept cutting me off all through Fort Collins. What I am complaining about is at least partially not unique to Colorado (hence the Texas reference), but it just struck me as more so this last time through.

Part of this is that I remember that sense of superiority that many in Colorado have. I used to have it. I used to believe that mountains were inherently superior to non-mountainous areas. I looked at those who lived in Oklahoma with a certain sense of pity. Poor people, can't live around mountains. What an inferior existence.

Studying environmental history, one is struck by how cultural assumptions feed our understanding of nature. Americans inherited some of the European preference for alpine vistas and only recently have come to appreciate deserts and swamps (sorry, wetlands). We also impose certain spiritual assumptions on nature and assume that somehow out in "nature" (nature not being in cities for some reason) we achieve some spiritual connection that is impossible in town.

Living in the great plains has been a good experience for me. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the plains and understand that there is no inherent superiority in those mountains. They are beautiful, but so are the grasslands. Nothing wrong with enjoying them, but I no longer assume that people who live in mountains have a better life than those who don't.

All of this just came to a head yesterday driving the Front Range, even though, as I noted, all of this is more than just Colorado. And Colorado will always be a special place for me. I spent most of my youth and part of my adulthood there. I met SOF there, and many of my family still live there.

But there is more to the world than Fort Collins. And I guess that is my point. FWIW. :)

Now I am going to go connect to nature on a golf course....

4 comments:

Greek Shadow said...

Get a birdie or two to make it worth your while. I'm heading for the links tomorrow.

grandma1 said...

I was raised and when to school in Colorado. I did not see of the superior view of people. Greek shadow went to school there until he was 12 years old.

Streak said...

You know, I really understand that. One of the people I talked to about this pointed out the huge population growth in the Rocky Mountain region and how much of that population came from California. It isn't that Californians are any worse than any other people, but I wonder if the relative economic disparity creates a hyper-playland mentality. People sell modest houses in California for more than they need to build large houses in Colorado.

The Colorado of my youth had more of a working class mentality, and that may be what has changed the most.

I remember a woman we knew in Houston. She moved somewhere in Colorado and then came back for a visit--we are talking maybe having lived in Colorado for a little more than a year. She was complaining about all the people who were moving in.

Bruce said...

Having moved to Colorado from Oklahoma, my gf and I noticed how much the mountains play into the "specialness" of the place. We often joke about it: "Hey, welcome to Denver, have you seen our mountains?"

We moved here so that she can go to DU but I noticed that so many people seem to be from other places. I sometimes wonder what it was like here before so many new people came in.