Saturday, September 12, 2009

Swirling in the Farmers Market social eddy ...

Spent the morning at the weekly Durango Farmers Market today. I was down there with my friend Matt, and we were representing Backcountry Hunters and Anglers at a table with some folks from Colorado Wild. We were giving out info to visitors to the market about roadless areas in Colorado, and urging people to urge Governor Ritter to make the Colorado Roadless Rule at least as strong as the Clinton Roadless Rule.

Learn more about the issue here.

But that's not what I want to write about here. What struck me the most about this day was the farmers market itself. And Durango itself.

It was a lovely morning, with a slight cool bite to the air early on ("That is a whisper," a friend whispered to me this morning. "It's winter whispering, 'I'm com-ming ...'" He grinned, big and happy ...). By mid-day it had given way to shorts-worthy heat -- the typical southern Rocky fall regimen kicking in.

And people were out en masse. The market -- set in two adjacent strips of First National Bank parking lots -- was like a big, swirling eddy. And everybody was happy and convivial and just loving the day. Part of 8th Street just up from the market was closed for the Durango Coffee Festival, and live music rolled out over both venues as people strolled and pushed strollers and biked and sauntered around between the two.

Downtown Durango was alive, and at its tribal, social, communal best early on this lovely late summer day. My parents were in town and I was glad they were able to enjoy it with us.

And that was the perfect place for me to be, it seemed. Always good to be able to evangelize on a street corner, of course -- but beyond that, it was three hours or more of running into friends and neighbors and co-workers and former co-workers and old friends and forgotten acquaintances and old students and meeting some tourists and several new Durangotans who I hadn't yet bumped up against in the great ecosystem that is Durango.

It was fun in the sun and sharing and chatting (and a few cups of good coffee), and it showcased some of the great features of Durango, and of mountain-town life in general: the engagement, the involvement, the caring, the out-of-doors living, the social fabric, the festivarian spirit, the endless swirling and entwining and renewing of relationships.

For us, it was certainly an easy place to push an idea like defending Colorado's roadless areas -- to people who care about their town, their community, their place. People who live somewhere because they want to live there.

Mountain-town people.

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