Ward, Colorado

Ornery, beautiful, windy and cold in the winter, and winter lasts 9 months a year.

So why do people live here all year? Admittedly it takes a special kind of person to even want to live here. You have to be okay with isolation, cold, roads that don’t get plowed, the constant hyperawareness of the possibility of wildfire, power that goes out, internet service that is at the mercy of the elements, the occasional marauding bear, mountain lion, raccoon, 90 mph winds for 2 weeks in a row, snow drifts that bury cars, shovelling tons of snow, literally tons, spending 3 months collecting the firewood that you spend 9 months burning, and many more exhausting, exasperating, exhilarating activities.

And for what? Well, if you love winter and self-propelled winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, you have it made in the shade. The lifestyle encourages simplicity and humility. And then there’s the 2 to 3 months of glorious, green summer during which we hold our breaths, praying not to get struck by lightning or idiots with campfires.

What it all amounts to is a population of people who some might describe as recluses or misfits, but who are our community, who do fit in here, and they are strong and quarrelsome, kind and opinionated, artistically gifted and emotionally ornery . They are who they are, nothing more and nothing less. And that’s why we live here.

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