We’re used to being on our own, but it may be too little too late for isolation to save us in Taos

 Chapman Grubb | 040120 
︎ Taos, New Mexico

My small town of Taos, NM (15,000 population) is in a weird place considering the Global Pandemic COVID-19. Social distancing has always been practiced in Taos. In fact, I’d argue that Taos is a destination for people who desire social distance, incredible wilderness and more open space than crowds. The venues are small, the restaurants are often outside and the lines are always short. I moved to Taos because I wanted away from the masses. I wanted to feel personal independence, far far away from the rigors of the big city.

Taos is a typical small, adventure minded town with a tourist driven economy. Despite the fact that locals have been training for this for decades, our desire to keep that Colorado/Texas cash flow going will have serious consequences in our community. We are quickly seeing confirmed cases popping up left and right. Our first confirmation was a tourist visiting Taos Ski Valley. He ate at the restaurant. Stored his gear in the locker room. It’s nearly impossible to calculate the consequences of his contact with so many high traffic destinations.

It’s easy to blame the outsider for bringing the infection to our remote area, but it’s much more challenging to take responsibility for not shutting down sooner. There was ample warning that the infection was rampantly running across the country. Yet, we weren’t ready to throw in the towel early on a fantastic (and busy) ski season. We could have stopped. We didn’t, and instead were quick to justify our slower response because of our preconceived feelings of isolation.

Back on the 12th of March I played ultimate frisbee with friends and we actually discussed whether or not COVID-19 would impact future frisbee dates. Business carried on as usual into early the third week of March as it was hard to imagine the impact of this virus on the community. One week later, with more information, the decision became easy to cancel frisbee until further notice.

This psychological trap will have an impact on our town. We must realize that our choice to be here, in the middle of the high alpine desert 100 miles away from a major city, doesn’t protect us from the outside world. Honestly, the world must work together right now to benefit the global good. We are obligated to change our lifestyles, to share information, to research and be honest with one another. We already face a widespread and dangerous problem. It only becomes more problematic if everyone is misinformed, skeptical and scared.

Globally – Mother Earth is healing as we shelter within our homes.

When this virus is exhausted, cured or transformed we have an opportunity to reemerge and do a better job. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time? Today.

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