What is appealing to me so much about Durango is how well the city has integrated itself with the natural environment. I’m within close walking distance of the center yet am surrounded by lush vegetation and can reach a vast trail system to walk till my hearts content in a matter of minutes. Bears frequently visit the garden at night, and this morning I witnessed a whole herd of deer laying down dozing in a neighbours garden, totally relaxed despite their proximity to ‘civilisation’. Nature isn’t just some place people visit on bank holiday weekends here, nature is part of every day life. Hiking, mountian biking, rafting, rock-climbing… These are ordinary activites carried out by ordinary people on an ordinary day. The folk I’ve been coming across here seem to be proudly environmentally conscious and equally aware of the effect that time spent outdoors has on their overall happiness, and these things are made a priority.
Too many people these days experience the natural world only through their television sets. When I lived on Corrour I was frequently asked ‘do you never get scared all the way out here?!’ People are so far removed from nature that they’ve forgotten they are but another part of it. If more people made the effort to connect with and enjoy nature every so often, not only would their bodies and minds thank them, but their reestablished relationship with the natural world may well be reflected in the way they treat the world in all its weird and wonderful parts, and help to protect the few true areas of wilderness that we have left. Go exploring yo!