Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are We All Ants Marching?

When I told Matt (our 25 year old son) that we might be able to visit him out in Telluride this summer he was really excited. Matt rents a small three bedroom house with two other guys. His room is actually in the basement, but he seems happy enough...except for their leaking roof and high rent....such is life in a quaint little mountain ski resort town.

Unbeknown to me, Matt e-mailed a bunch of his teacher friends and told them we might be coming in this summer. He asked if anyone knew of a rental where we might be able to stay while we were there. Within one days time, about ten of his friends have replied back saying that if their travel plans go through for the summer, we would be welcome to stay at their house when we come.

Okay, so I know these people all like and respect Matt, but they have never met us...and still they are willing to open their homes to us and let us stay there for four or five nights while they are away? Are people in Colorado really different than people in other parts of the country, because I can't think of a single person that I know (and I know some really nice people) that would do something like that.

Matt has told me so many times that people are different in Colorado and that things are different in Colorado. Is that true? Are people really that different in different parts of the country? Sure he lives in a tiny mountain village now, but he's also lived in Durango and Boulder and has always felt that way.

People where I live are in a hurry. They hurry to get to work, they hurry at work, they hurry home from work....they hurry through their lives oblivious to the world around them. I try very hard not to live that life, but sometimes it's hard when everything around you is moving at break neck speed. People don't say hello, no one stops to chat and you never get to know your neighbors.

Now before any Midwesterners jump down my throat, I'm sure this doesn't apply to's just my observation where I live. In fact, it reminds me of the lyrics to the Dave Matthews song, "Ants Marching". It goes like this:

Driving in on the highway
All the cars and upon the sidewalk
People in every direction
No words exchanged
No time to exchange

And all the little ants are marching
Red and Black antennas waving
They all do it the same
They all do it the same way

What is different in Colorado or maybe other parts of the country that makes people move a little more slowly? What makes them a little kinder and a little more gentle? Why is it that they "stop to smell the roses"?

Here was Matt's answer today...."It's a quality of life. The mountains bring out the best in people, plus teachers kick ass, and these are all teachers that are wanting to help. When you visit, you will see why." So, what is life like in your part of the world?


Angela said...

I sit on the veranda and sip sweet tea from a jar.

At least that's what I think people think Mississippians do...

The only thing slow around here is our speech. :)

I have really felt like an ant lately. I would never let anyone stay in my house without me there.

Mary said...

i think that most people here on cape cod would offer a place to say. i know we yankees have a rep for being stand offish but i have the best neighbors ever and a huge network of people i work with or play with throughout the cape and am pretty confident that each and every one of them would help out given the chance. the few times i've asked for help i've been nearly overwhelmed with kindness and generosity!

and having said that, most of us cape codders are packed to the gills with visitors during the summer season. it's one of those places where people from elsewhere love to have someone they know to stay with when they come to the beach ;-)

and you could stay at our house any time--whether we're here or not ;-)

Kala Pohl Studio said...

I believe that most people have a lot of good in them and given the chance and right circumstances will step up to the plate:):) Opening your home to people you hardly know is saying a lot about a place and its people - especially in the U.S. It is wonderful that Matt lives in such a place:):)

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Teachers rock!

sherry said...

That was lovely to read.

When we moved to a small town in New Jersey after living across the river in Philadelphia, I could feel the change right away. This is home.

Softpencil said...

I live in a big city and the people is always in a hurry. I would like to live in the country, where the life is slower... :)

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matt said...

In Telluride, you can't walk down the street without stopping to say hi to a handful of people. It is impossible, unless you put your sunglasses on and headphones in and pretend not to see them, which is the case on certain days. I can't go on a run without a dozen cars waving to me, or lately because of Search and Rescue, sheriffs waving also. It's the kind of town, where you know half of the business owners, heck their kids are even in your class. It's the kind of town you don't want to screw up in because the whole town will hear about it before you even do. I have learned over the past years that "Kindness is a language we all understand. Even the blind can see it and the deaf can hear it" - Mother Teresa. Last year during one of the festivals I met a young couple on their way to California. They stopped in Telluride only to find that every hotel and campground were full. What did we do? Offered them a spot on the couch and a cold beer. Isn't that what we would want if we were in the same position. It is those experiences that make people 'pass it on' and those experiences that shape quality human beings. If you believe in Karma, you will help out when the situations arise, and enjoy it tremendously. "It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life...we can never help another without helping ourselves". - Ralph Waldo Emerson. So with that said, if you ever need a place to stay, don't hesitate to call. Thanks for continuing to read my mother's blog. She is a truly gifted person/mother. Love you Mom!

CountryDreaming said...

Vacationing in Georgia two years ago, I ran into two good samaritans within minutes of each other. First was the guy in the truck with his family who saw me circling around a small town just off the highway trying to find the Southern Cross Ranch. He had me follow his truck and drove miles out of his way to make sure I got to the ranch all right.

Then, on entering the inn, a boy grabbed my suitcase and practically ran with it all the way up the carpeted spiral staircase to my room. I was just about to tip him several dollars when I found out that no, he didn't work there as the bellboy ... He was the son of one of the guests, visiting from Mississippi!

Here's hoping I can move to a small town like that someday. Bet I'd have a lot more friends. People where I live seem surprised if you even smile in public.

Jonara Blu Maui said...

Thats awesome! And it shows you what a great guy Matt has turned out to be..people like him and they figure he must have awesome parents that raised him!

It's funny how places breed different types of people. I'm sure it has a lot to do w/ the surroundings and what they have to deal with. But even in Hawaii..I don't why..but I have heard Maui called the 'shy island' ..well I"m here and I know I'm shy. I've also heard it called "the stuck up island" I do know that when I meet someone local who is SUPER nice they either come from Oahu or The Big Island. My husband did some work on the Big Island and he could not believe how kind people were and ready to help and do things for him..give him rides..take him to lunch. I don't know why Maui is like's difficult to live here..things are expensive..but same story for the rest of the islands I'm sure.

Oh well all we can do is try to add in our own dose of niceness!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful post!

Even though I live in NYC I've met many a person who would give you "the shirt off their back" as the saying goes, so i don't think it's a place, but more of a result of upbringing, or being a kind person by nature.

I bet since many of the teachers know your son, and his fine character, they also know that his parents would be fine people also so that is why they didn't hesitate to offer their homes. I'm sure you're proud of him!

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