“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” -Marcus Aurelius
It’s been five months since we moved to a small mountain cabin located on the west side of the Wet Mountains, south of the rural community of Westcliffe (pop. 591) in the Wet Mountain Valley. We’ve settled nicely into the flow of a quiet country lifestyle. It’s a mad, mad world out there so we felt it was an opportune time to shift and start anew. We embraced a change to make a dream come true—to live like we camp—small, simple and serene to savor our time on earth with goodness and gratitude.
If you wonder what life is like at 8,500 ft, read on…It is peaceful—with little traffic on the dirt roads to disturb the sound of silence. It is dark—depending on the moon phase, the night is filled with thousands of shining stars. It is breathtaking—to be in awe of a full rainbow or the Milky Way arching across the sky right outside the cabin. It is wondrous—to watch clouds float on and see the weather change as it comes and goes. We’ve got the whole sky, in every direction, above us and nature all around.
We live in a wilderness area but not off the grid. We have five plus acres with a well, septic, propane, electricity and a wood stove. Internet access can be a bit challenging, especially when it comes to streaming programs, but we’re adapting to limited data from a satellite company. We often see deer and have seen a bear and a herd of pronghorn on our property. Bella and Bogey have adjusted and take feline pleasure in catching baby mice. It’s been a very active monsoon season, great for keeping everything green, the wildflowers vibrant and replenishing ground water.
We’re getting into nature’s rhythm, often up before sunrise and out for a peaceful walk first thing. Our road rises up to offer a splendid view of the mountain valley. The air is delightfully fresh and clean, you can’t help but breathe deep to breathe in the peace and breathe out the love. This world needs love!
We do what needs to be done, whatever that may be, in the morning before the sun is a-blazing. Temps are comfortable but the Colorado sun is hot. We chill in the cabin mid-day, read at leisure, an afternoon nap for Matt, I play with photos and such on the computer, or play in the kitchen with a new recipe, we play Cribbage or backgammon later, another beautiful short walk in the evening before or after dinner, watch the day’s end and do our best to stay up unless there’s some stargazing to enjoy later in the night. We hope to learn many constellations while we’re still in our sixties.
We greatly appreciated being able to step outside to catch shooting stars streaking across the sky during the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. What was even more amazing was the light show from an enormous thunderhead way to the east, constantly lit up with what I would refer to as heat lightening with no sound of thunder. The lightening was wildly moving about through the cloud. WOW! doesn’t describe it.
We drive 12 miles into town once, sometimes twice, a week with a checklist of errands including dumping trash and recycling at the landfill, post office to send/receive mail, refill drinking water containers for 29¢ a gallon, check out books and DVDs from the library, go to the market for a week’s menu and visit other local shops like the yummy bakery Sugar & Spice and friendly butcher at Elevations Meat Market. If we need more than what’s available at the local market, we drive an hour in different directions to Salida, Canon City or Pueblo or 90 minutes to Colorado Springs.
We’re watching our Steel Structures America pole barn with a loft being built this month. We can’t wait to empty the storage unit in Longmont and bring everything home. Our barn, lovingly called Smallville, will house our one vehicle, Cricket camper, two kayaks, five bikes, a spin cycle, an exercise bench with weights, camping gear and most importantly, a new ping pong table with plenty of room around it to play. Game on!
I could go on but it’s time to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the mountains. Life is good! As it should be…
“We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.” -Henry David Thoreau