Not born in a small town. Never lived in a small town. Probably won’t die in a small town, but oh we love those small town communities.
Well, they’re not exactly John Mellancamp’s Small Town lyrics but after living in Baker, NV for a week, we daydream about living in that small town, boring romantics are we.
A week off-grid gave us nothing to do but commune with nature, read books and stop in town for a tamale or a farmer’s market or The Bristlecone’s Backyard Arts and Music night. Liz may have only bought the place in January, but according to townsfolk she’s adding bright energy to an already special place.
The Front Porch Pickers are a collection of homespun musicians who meet every Friday on Dave’s front porch for a two hour jam session. There’s teenager Ava in her rose colored glasses who learned to play guitar last year, her talented mom on mandolin and violin, old Ed who’s always late, bandleader Dave, and uke strumming, singing Liz, who gives them all a stage in Bristlecone’s backyard.
Forty of us come and go during the four hour creative where we decorate a Word Wall with terms that are “of our mind” at the time – for us it was water, moths, elevation and lonely. Liz loved Eric’s explanation how lonely can be fabulous, that when man-made distractions are absent it allows you to clear your mind.
While kids used colorful and patterned duct-tape to cover an old black office chair, others made watercolors and painted furniture. With no pickleball in town, Eric took up a game of badminton with Arjun, Issac watching from the big bench bleacher. The The women from the farmer’s market were all there, as were some of the rangers from Great Basin. The Bristlecone was the Cheers of Baker, where everybody knew our name, and it appeared that they were genuinely glad we came.
Who could not use a dose of small town living once in awhile? The creators of Green Acres had a winning formula when they dropped Oliver (Eddie Albert) and Lisa (Eva Gabor) Douglas into a small farming town after a life in the Big Apple. We could picture ourselves as the Douglas’s, adopting a smart pig Arnold in a bucolic small town of our own and discovering the meaning of life. Unfortunately it would not be Baker. The Woolsey’s already grabbed that one.
We’re about 2,300 miles from home. Yesterday was a 250 mile day from Baker, across Route 50, the Loneliest Road in America, where there are no services or people for a hundred miles. We crossed the dried up Sevier Lake, a miles long glowing white sand bed and more sage brushed foothills of rising up mountains. Salt Lake City was a monstrosity of new corporate buildings and 12 lane ribbons highways on the shore of a tepid and shrinking body of water. The draw must be the easy access to the other parts of the state which hold so much natural beauty.
Today the forecast calls for rain. What is that?