Anyone who has known me for 45 seconds knows that my favorite state in the whole wide world is Colorado. I spent my first 2 years out of college living there as a nurse on the Navajo Indian Reservation. While your first year as a nurse is down right scary, my days off were full of exploration, beauty, and solitude unlike anything I had ever experienced back on the East Coast.
Mesa Verde National Park, near Cortez, CO (my home for 2 years)
This past week-end I jetted off to the land of the Rockies, alone, and spent time visiting a good friend with her new baby and less-new husband. The minute I got off the plane I was certain Captain Schenanigans was going to have to ship the children and our belongings to me, because I wasn’t coming back.
The wide open spaces, wild green shades of pinions, aspen and evergreen, plus the jagged rocks over looking lazy rivers makes this girl want to pound in her tent stakes and pray for squatter rights. This was my place. It filled my soul and made me kindred spirits with John Denver. The unspeakable beauty, once again, had me wondering how people went about their day ignoring such splendor. “Why don’t you all stop and stare”, I thought?
Best looking Wally-world I’ve ever seen!
But alas, that’s how all tourists feel. As I was surfing along the internet recently, perusing Colorado homes for sale again, I learned that 100,000 people have moved to Colorado in the past year alone. I was curious, and asked my friend Charli about these numbers. I mean, just how many hippies are created in one year, anyway?
The reason, she explained, was because Colorado legalized marijuana. That was it. Now there is a housing crisis, increased illegal drug trade, and a bunch more crime (as these people all get high or need money to get high). The number of kids in foster care is at an all time high (no pun intended).
Based on an article from Focus on the Family (see bottom of this article), there has been a major strain on social services, on water, electricity, schools, and marijuana related traffic fatalities have increased by 92%. The drug cartel have moved in, bought up homes, and have even taken land in National Forests to set up illegal grow operations. Armed guards have blocked public roads and keep people from their properties. In Colorado. Can you believe it that? Armed guards in our National Forests, acting like it’s theirs! This makes me angry. Did you know every 4th grader gets a free pass to all of America’s National Parks? Imagine…
Combine that information, with the increased human trafficking (due to unregulated banking needed for housing drug money), and the fact that “between 2010-2014, the United States Postal Service has seen a 2,033 percent increase in marijuana packages being sent out-of-state and out of country”, and I’m kinda over pining for my wooded dream life.
For a while Colorado seemed like such the idea State. It’s the healthiest one in the country, super rural, and I can pick which schools my kids attend regardless of housing district. But the shine is fading off this sparkly gem, and it’s starting to look not much more different than Baltimore. Just a couple extra pine nuts, and some cattle ranchers. The problems are the same.
While all this depressing news makes me sad, in way it also make me happy. It helps me feel content with my little plot in life, and kinda takes the wind right out of the grass-is-always-greener- on- the-other-side-of-the-fence sails. I know God has us here to bloom where we are planted, and we are happy to do so, but that doesn’t mean I don’t gaze wistfully at the rugged West sometimes, and decorate my home like Baltimore’s last ranch house. Rustic is relaxing to me, but I can do that here just as well as there. I’ll just be the only one. Which is fine, too. My rustic Western wedding cake, in 2008 Baltimore, MD.
I’m not trying to put Colorado down, but now that their issues are on the same scale as Baltimore’s, I feel free to embrace my roots and live & die a happy Marylander. While our State has its own fist-full of crazy, it’s got a boatload of awesome, too! Lots of kinds of environments with minimal types of man-eating predators. Yes, please! My honeymoon cabin, in Deep Creek, Maryland.
So I’ve returned home to roost with a new view on my old things. I’m happy to stay, happy to nano-farm (we’re not even big enough to micro), and happy to never again have to decide whether to live close to family, or where I want to be. It’s all good in our hood, and bless my weeds, I think it may stay that way. At least until I paint my Honda Pilot John Deere green with yellow trim…
Wore these babies to my wedding reception, my first kid’s baptism, and my god-daughters first communion.