You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country…

… but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I’ve lived in the Denver metro area for just over eight months now, and it dawned on me today, while I was sitting in traffic, that maybe a big part of my creative block has to do with my frustration with being so completely out of sync with the world around me.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Cities are where all the culture is, right? That’s true, to an extent. The arts community in Denver, for instance, is infinitely more vibrant and varied than the arts community in the small rural town where I came from. I have to admit that the idea of being able to go to the Denver Art Museum or the Denver Botanical Gardens whenever I want is pretty seductive. In fact, there’s a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens right now, and I’m dying to see it because Chihuly is one of my all-time favorite artists. The problem is this: in order to get to that exhibit, I have to fight heavy traffic consisting of rude and obnoxious drivers who are too busy texting their friends to be bothered with steering the half-ton projectiles in which they are contained. Most days, it’s just not worth the hassle to get across town to the museum or botanical gardens.

I’ve always tended toward being a hermit. I know a lot of artists who feed off the energy of a city. They are the sort who find their inspiration in chaos, and there is plenty of that to be found here in Denver. I, on the other hand, am the sort who finds my inspiration in order. The order of nature, specifically. I’ve come to the conclusion over the past several weeks that I’m failing to thrive in the city, even after my husband and I made a concerted effort to find a residential haven that has a country feel to it. There are hundreds of acres of green space right out my front door, and there I find hints of the natural order of nature that feeds my soul. It’s not the same as the thousands of acres of undeveloped wilderness that I had access to while living in rural Colorado, though.

I miss spending time with my horse and her herd mates while they grazed peacefully on their 100-acre mountain pasture. I miss exploring deep arroyos and the rolling hills of my friend’s 20,000 acre cattle ranch with my dog, watching her leap gracefully through the scrub oaks in pursuit of birds and dragon flies. My dog, Willow, passed away a little over three years ago, and I still miss her sweet personality and her insatiable thirst for adventure every day. Yet, I’m not at all unhappy that she’s not with me now, doomed to life on a leash in this urban jungle in which I am now so frustratingly contained.

It’s true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Now that Willow is no longer by my side and I’ve sold my horse, Shadow (rather than subjecting her to a diminished life in a 12′ x 12′ box in an urban boarding facility), I realize that I’ve inadvertently cut myself off from my main sources of creative inspiration. Spending time with Willow and Shadow while they were at liberty, just doing what comes naturally to them is what kept me centered. Experiencing them in their natural state helped me connect with my own creative core.

So, what’s a country girl to do when she finds herself starving for the order of nature in a decidedly chaotic urban environment? Good question. I hope to find some answers soon. If I do find answers, I’ll share them here. Sort of a country girl’s guide to survival in the city…

Life is short. Do what you love.

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