When Progress Doesn’t Feel Like Progress

I went for my morning run today, outside, in thirty-seven degree weather.  I rejected the treadmill in leu of rosy cheeks, a cold nose and the invigoration that only an outdoor run can provide.  Since we now live in town, I headed out of our condo complex, took a left at the highway and ran to a fairly well trafficked intersection, that is conveniently located one and a half miles from my front door.  It’s the perfect turn around spot when I want to squeeze in a quick three-miles.

Today, I didn’t want a quick three-miles.  I wanted to run at least four.  I hung a left at Reserve (my normal turn around point) and it struck me.  I was running up a onramp.

When I got to the top of the ramp I wondered; when did my much beloved, small city get a onramp?  When did we become so populated and congested that we need a bypass?  Why did I feel like Rip Van Winkle waking up to a place that I didn’t recognize, a place that had way more orange construction cones than I was comfortable with?

From the top, I turned in a complete circle and drank in spectacular views of white-capped mountains, a ski hill to the north, and because it was clear day,  gazed straight into Glacier National Park.  The Park was showing off its grandiose, snow- covered peaks, today, complete with a blinding sparkly reflection of the sun.

This place, this small, not so metropolitan place, this haven of beauty and serenity, this has been my home for over 13 years.  I’ve grown used to its quiet rural ways.  It’s  no wonder that today, I felt an acute sense of alarm. It seemed that almost overnight my quaint valley had undergone a Jack and the Beanstalk growth spurt.  Today, my city felt like a hub of commerce, complete with on ramps and I didn’t like it.

I’ve known it was coming, the signs were all there, new stores and restaurants have slowly and sometimes not so slowly popped up all over the north end of town for years. To be perfectly honest, part of me hasn’t minded the expansion, as long as it has meant a new Krispy Kreme and Chick fil A, both of which have newly  opened in the last month.

I’ve wanted to cherry-pick.  New eateries seemed ok, more selection regarding shopping was a welcome addition…. a major thoroughfare with increased traffic, that, I didn’t sign up for.  Today, progress felt like anything but.DSC_0356.JPG

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