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The Ecoregion and the Town

When we moved in late 1995 from our long term home in Colorado (25+ years), we were looking for a place that would not become subsumed by a large city as Boulder had by Denver, a place that would remain relatively small, yet was interesting, both landscape and people. What a journey! We spent some years in Eastern Washington and northern Idaho, then in central Vermont, before we found Silver City, here in New Mexico.

New MexicoSilver City is on the road to nowhere which, if you don’t want to be bothered by the craziness of America right now, is  a good place to be. Everybody else is on the highway, trying to get someplace – or get away from someplace else. Here, there is no place to go. No one comes here unless they want to come here; you can’t get to anywhere else from here. You can’t just pass through for we are 50 miles from the nearest highway, I-10. We do have Great Lakes Airlines. It lands at an airport the size of most people’s living rooms (not kidding). It will take you to and from Albuquerque, New Mexico. By car, we are 3 hours from El Paso, Tx, two hours from Las Cruces, NM, 4 hours from Albuquerque, NM and 3 hours from Tucson, AZ.

Houses are cheap. You can actually buy a house here for $35,000 and pay it off by working at the local burger joint. Many people think they will like it here and move to our lovely town but the average survival rate is 18 months. After a year, which they love, most people begin to realize that this place fosters inner reflection. There is very little else to do. And if the majority of Americans avoid anything it is inner reflection. A few months of that and they begin to go crazy. So, they put the house up for sale(they did NOT buy one for $35,000) and off they go, to Reno, or San Diego, or Denver. Where stuff happens.

The town is small, only 10,000 people counting all the outlying areas (which are huge). The town is slow as molasses on a cold day. There is NO good bar, which we hate (except the buckhorn in Pinos Altos some 20 minutes away and yeah I know that sounds close but live here awhile). There are NO good restaurants, which we hate. (So we put in a commercial size kitchen and got to be great cooks). The place is so slow the restaurants close so their employees can eat lunch. (You think that’s a joke, don’t you?) To get an idea: there is NY time (very fast) and regular time (still too fast) and Mountain time (much better) and Indian time (really slow) but the slowest time of all is Silver City time. Calendars here are geologic in nature; people from the Cretaceous are still showing up from time to time, coming to fix that leaky toilet. (We already threw it away.) Almost everyone here limps. We still don’t know why. It may be Freudian.

puebloSilver City is also next to the largest wilderness areas in the U.S. (The Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas) and the very large and largely unused Gila National Forest. Like everyplace else there is a (fill in the blank) here. In our case it is a copper mine, several of them. They are huge. But outside that the land is much as it always has been, very undeveloped, very wild. It is one of the largest, wildest places outside Alaska still undiscovered in the U.S.

We are in a unique location in other ways as well: the Sonoran desert, the Chiracahua desert, the high plains desert of northern New Mexico, and the high Rocky Mountain alpine range all meet right here. The plant diversity is incredible, the range of ecoranges amazing. It is hard to be civilized here, to be “of the cities.”

Here are some pictures:

New Mexico

New Mexico

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