Snooze or Lose

I missed the Westcliffe Town Meeting at which Road and Bridge discussed improvements to Main and Rosita Streets. I wanted to attend, but apparently I lost my focus or my attention wandered. Perhaps I dozed off.

What a sad state of affairs! Had I attended the meeting, I would have had a lot to say. Not that the town wants to hear from me now… I missed my authorized chance…. but I can vent via my blog.

2017 03 05 dd 006

Rosita Street – too wide now – but wider in the future.

I find Westcliffe’s parking-friendly-plans for Rosita Street to be at-odds with my vision of a small, rural, mountain town. (The combined towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff total merely 1,155 in population.) When my husband and I bought our little 1888 house on Second Street 24 years ago, we were thinking ahead to retirement. To that end, I told our realtor that because we needed to be prepared for infirmity and the children taking away our car keys, we only wanted to look at houses in town within walking distance of the library, the grocery, and the health clinic. We successfully realized that dream when we bought a house only two blocks from Main Street.

And so I walk. My perfect week is one in which our vehicles are parked, and I walk everywhere I want to go. I don’t need a sidewalk. It’s a treat to walk down a street on which drivers  will slow down and stop to visit with me.
2017 03 05 dd 001So you can imagine my despair when walking along Rosita towards the Custer County Courthouse, I saw yellow X’s and orange ribbons around some trees. Trees, I imagined, destined for destruction.

I’m an unabashed tree-hugger. Every Christmas, my father (a man with a Welshman’s love of the vocal arts) always read Hans Christian Anderson‘s The Little Fir Tree. And every Christmas, I cried as the tree that yearned to be in a festive family home found itself decorated for a short time but ultimately burned at season’s end.

Not that I knew about metaphors at the time, but it was a brutal metaphor for the life of all living things.

As is typical with me, I’m a day late and a dollar short. Just as I thought of proposing  raised planters to be built in the middle of each block of Second Street, I learn that the town is leaning in another direction. Apparently beautification and slowing traffic is not a high priority.

The town plans to widen the already too wide street to accommodate diagonal parking and sidewalks for the convenience of summer visitors who come for our music festivals, theatrical productions, and numerous activities on-offer. Improving the storm sewers is another consideration, but I’m thinking that could be accomplished without removing the trees.

2017 03 05 dd 002

Orange tape marks one of the targeted trees

Apparently, it is mostly about parking. What’s the matter with walking a few blocks! I’m thinking that if you want to park – go to Wal-Mart. They have generous parking. (Although that said, no matter how large a parking lot, you will see drivers slowly snaking their way row after row hoping for a parking spot that is 20-feet closer to the store’s entrance.) As for sidewalks, sidewalks are for cities.

Westcliffe is a small town. I am not against growth or light industry. It would be great if we could keep or attract younger residents. If we are looking to attract younger residents, we need jobs. If we are looking to attract full-time tele-commuters and retirees, we need to preserve our landscape. If we are looking to attract more tourists, we need better promotion. But in all three cases, we need to think of the town’s ambiance. Widening streets for parking does not lend itself to charm.

2017 03 05 dd 003

It is particularly painful to see the trees north of St. Luke’s targeted for removal. Some years ago, beautiful, specimen firs were removed because their roots were putting the church foundation at-risk. Watching the firs come down was understandable but very sad.  Small Aspen trees replaced the fallen firs. Little by little, the Aspen have grown. But it is only a matter of time before they too come down.


About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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10 Responses to Snooze or Lose

  1. BRENT BRUSER says:

    i sent this along to a few townies. didnt have all the trustees email addresses. great pizza. all gone. also have email issues with my yahoo account on ipad and iphone.

    • timeout2 says:

      I feel your pain, Brent. My computer is in the shop. The housing inside the computer that receives the on/off switch is fractured. I have no idea how, but… the housing is on back order with Dell. Meanwhile, I’m using a much older computer. It is tough – especially in that it cannot fiddle with/enhance my photos.

  2. Maria Weber says:

    I don’t live there, but I’m for the trees. Always for the trees and not for the parking!

    • timeout2 says:

      I wonder, Maria, if I hadn’t been introduced to THE LITTLE FIR TREE, would I feel as strongly about saving them? Probably. Especially when weighing convenient parking against vegetation.

  3. Jennie Ensor says:

    I sympathise! if I had my way, London would be virtually empty of traffic apart from cycles and the occasional electric car – and pedestrians, of course 🙂
    This is unlikely… but now the powers that be are finally wakign up to the dangers of vehicle pollution, we may get a few more shrubs and trees (to soak up all the dangerous particles etc). Maybe that would be grounds for keeping the trees??

  4. timeout2 says:

    Dear Jennie, I was reading BLIND SIDE on the computer that is now in the shop. Horrors! The computer is gone as is your most excellent novel which I have not yet finished! The computer and your novel cannot return home too soon.

  5. One option is to remove the orange bands. But that would be wrong. There is a myth that during the Nazi occupation of Denmark when the Jews were told to wear Star of David armbands the king and all of the other Danes wore them, too. [the real story: Why not put an orange band around every bush and tree in town?

    • timeout2 says:

      A great idea… maybe if we lived in a large city. Custer County is way too small to make such a in-you-face statement. And… I had a turn to speak up, and I missed my turn. Looking forward to warmer weather – just may have to run down to Tucson. Do you remember Jim and Rosie Watts? We see them from time-to-time, but not often enough.

  6. 2000detours says:

    Wait…what? We love Westcliffe just the way it is. Killing trees for parking spaces? I have never had a problem parking in Westcliffe, although we’ve never visited during the festivals. Dang.

    • timeout2 says:

      Well… as is often the case… whine as we will, we get used to the new for fear that everyone will think we are backward and uninformed. When the tide is going out, there is no stopping it. Come visit during a festival. I can’t remember where you live. Write to me at

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