This barn has stood as testament to the fortitude of a family in the Colorado peaks for more than a century, its weathered exterior the evidence of perseverance and wisdom. But a new storm is battering the high valleys and front range of this mythical state, the hurricane of urbanization and development. Outside this small ranch that overlooks the Arkansas River valley, an 8-foot-by-10-foot real estate sign proclaims, “Legacy Homestead for Sale. Original Buildings. Ready for Development.”
Realtors’ “Property for Sale” signs are now more prevalent in high summer than Colorado’s fabled wildflowers. The signs litter nearly every driveway, every Forest Service road with access to private land. It is nothing short of the sale of legacy to the highest bidder, the relegation of pioneer heritage to nothing more than an available tract of ground. Wolves to the hunt.
And so I return to this image. Look closely, for it bears the indelible mark of modernity and society upon it. It is not just a survivor, but a symbol of inaccessibility and suspicion, of gated communities, and of “haves” and “have nots.”