Dear Lyons Community,
JenLo Farm sits directly across from Cemex, on Ute Highway. Before it was a highway, it was a country road, and before that a wagon trail and before that, a trail—a Ute trail from winter campgrounds here where we live, to summer campgrounds in the mountains west of Lyons.We are here because we have chosen to care for this small farm and to keep it from being swallowed up by a powerful international corporation.
What will this acre of land be next year, or a year from now, or in seven generations?
What will Lyons be?
Lyon’s eastern corridor plans are encroaching on this one acre postage stamp, one planning meeting and one greedy land developer after another. What happens if, after lines are drawn in the sand, those lines are overstepped? Will we be swallowed up? Will big footprints of “progress” erase the dream and change the form to something unrecognizable?
About 20 years ago, I sat in a café that is now a barbeque restaurant. I overheard a conversation between one of the town fathers and a real estate developer. The developer said “I know people don’t want more houses built here, but all you have to do is build one, and people don’t notice. You build another, and they don’t mind that either. You just gradually build more until you have a whole subdivision, and no-one protests. That’s the way we’ll get what we want.” I’ve watched Eagle Canyon turn from something lush and wild, its grasses moving like ocean waves in the wind, to a community of houses built too close together, to satisfy a developer’s greed. Houses cover what was once fertile land near the high school. Houses dot the hills overlooking Lyons. Those who live in these homes are not at fault. All of us live on land that was stolen from the wildness, and from indigenous people. But all of us who live here now, who love this place, have a responsibility to care for the land we’re on. And, we need to feel that we are of the land, not merely on it. We need to clearly see the encroachment that is happening, and to actively confront it. The threat of unbridled development, destroying the uniqueness of Lyons as a sustainable community, is real. All who have settled here in the past, and all those who have recently chosen to live in Lyons because of its specialness, must be alert and active in facing and conquering this threat.
I’ve seen the flagpole community that was to have been built on Blue Mountain Road defeated by a determined populace. We need that same determination yet again.
Our transitory lives give us a precious opportunity to live beyond selfish interests, to understand and encompass the responsibility of the larger dream this land expects of us. What will our small defiant statement of a farm be next year, a year from now, seven generations into the future? What will Lyons be? What we dream, and what we do, does matter.
Is it enough that, generation after generation, the dream is kept alive? Holding hands, letting go, holding hands, slipping away, in waves of overlapping dreaming and doing?
If we keep the dream, in seven generations, all will be well.