“The three of us are moving to Denver in a couple of weeks and listing the house.”
I re-read the text again. Did it say what I thought it said? Our neighbor of the last seven years since we moved to Nederland is moving. And he’s moving to the big city down on the plains.
A wave of sadness overcame me. Our other neighbor, Susan, is in the process of fixing up her house in preparation for a move to Louisville, another town on the plains. It seems our community is in the throes of transition.
Strangely, for both, the final straw was the loss of a dog, both of which I covered in earlier posts. For our neighbor, Susan, her old dog wandered off one night and never came back. Now, dogless, for the first time in many years, the move to a condo seems easier, with just two cats who like to sleep and loll about each day. She shared with me, that as a single woman, she wants to be somewhere closer to friends.
For our other neighbor, Ed, I can certainly understand how now, our quaint one-lane road brings back tragic memories. How many mornings did I gaze out the door to see a romping yellow dog running by our porch, tail wagging, big pink tongue hanging out? He and his sibling, Murphy, were regulars during our evening walks with our Simon and Shawnee. Once Luke, the yellow lab, was horrifically run over by a neighbor driving way too fast, Ed, felt the need to leave the terrible memory behind and find a new place for him and Murphy.
While I understand his sentiment, it makes me sad and angry and I wish so much that I could re-write the past and make that day disappear from history.
They aren’t alone though in leaving our mountain enclave of Nederland. As Bryon and I walk the dogs, we’ve noticed more strange faces, and new dogs we’ve never seen before. Clearly, new people are moving into the neighborhood and old-timers are moving on.
It wasn’t that long ago that we were the newbies. I remember our first weekend and meeting Serene, who told us the Carousel of Happiness was opening that weekend. And our first encounter with Dave down the road, who regaled us with stories of Nederland winds and snowstorms. Coming from the western slope and Maryland, how many old-timers eyed us suspiciously, taking bets on how long we would last?
It’s easy to understand why people move to Nederland — the dream of living the ideal life in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado lures so many. Those perfect summer days with cool nights. The gold of Aspen groves in the fall. The snow capped mountains of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. But once attained, why do people leave?
I met a man last summer who rushed into the museum with an incredible specimen of quartz from an old mining claim on his property. “Take it or leave it, because tomorrow I’m leaving town for good and I’m not coming back!”
He moved to South Carolina, proclaiming gratification to leave the nasty winds and cold weather behind.
Another neighbor moved shortly after the Cold Springs Wildfire, saying she just didn’t have in her to deal with the stress of wildfire season during the summer. The promise of safety in the plains beckoned her to leave behind her mountain cabin.
While Bryon and I both feel we are here for the long haul, we’ve also had the conversation. Two constants of our conversation always come up. Yes, we’d make a tidy sum off the sale of our house, but where would we go? Neither of us care for the city life of Boulder or Denver. In reality, our main driving force for moving wouldn’t be to relocate out of the mountains, but to downsize to something smaller with less maintenance in our old age. Our most likely relocation spot? The Grand Valley near Winter Park, Colorado.
What say you, fellow mountain dwellers? Are you thinking of moving on? What would make you leave behind the paradise of the Indian Peaks for greener pastures? And where exactly would you go?