The Soul of Red Lodge
The following is an excerpt from an article that I loved reading and that I wanted to share online. It was written by Audrey Clark for The Local Rag.
Upon deeper reflection of what it really means to those of us who live here, I realized that it is the "culture" of Red Lodge that binds us and our hearts to this place. Webster's New World Collegiate Dictionary defines culture in many ways. When I came to the eighth listed definition, I found what I was looking for. "CULTURE: the ideas, customs, skills, and arts of a particular people or group in a particular period."
The culture of Red Lodge as defined above has meant many different things to many different people. To the Crow this area was a place to live and hunt. To the mountain man and miner it was a place where the extractive practices of trapping, gold mining, and coal mining were the accepted mores of the day. Then came the ranching, railroad, and homestead eras whose culture of settlement and taming of the land were the focus. Tourism was a latecomer in the overall scheme of things, though it did start way back in 1872 in nearby Yellowstone Park. Nowadays, preservation of our precious natural ecosystems is of the highest priority.
Which brings us to present-day Red Lodge. What are the exact ideas, customs, skills, and arts that define us today ? Some of these are easy to define; others not quite so. Why did any of us come here? For some it is a familial home, others came for business opportunities. Some came from busy crowded places to raise their families here; some came to live close to nature and all it has to offer. Some have retired here. Many have sacrificed a better paying job or a fancier house for the privilege of living here. What could such diverse groups have in common?
- It is the culture of Red Lodge that binds us together. It is the fact that neighbors take time to be neighbors.
- It is the fact that a person can bankrupt themselves going to fundraisers, but keeps going and keeps giving.
- It is the fact that someone brings you soup when you are sick when you live in Red Lodge, or offers to take you to the doctor if you are ill.
- It is the fact that "more" is not necessarily "better." Conspicuous consumption is not considered polite; neither is pretension. This is the Western way.
- It is the fact that one person can make a difference here, but is often joined by not a few, but many other like-minded individuals.
- It is the fact that you can bump into one of our many local authors and they will be genuinely glad to speak to you and sign your book.
- It is the fact that we like to sit on a bench downtown and visit with our friends, neighbors, and passersby.
- It is the fact that no one cares who you are or what you did before you got here.
- It is the fact that we like and enjoy the peace and quiet of living in a small town.
- It is the fact that we all have a long-term investment in this place we call home, and we don't want anyone to mess with it!
As I see it, this is the soul and culture of Red Lodge. I think that we could all agree that it is indeed a privilege to live here, and it is a privilege to visit here. Let's keep it that way.
I love living in my small town of Red Lodge!
If you are interested to visit Red Lodge, you can get a travel planner as well as lots of valuable information about the town at http://www.redlodge.com/ .
If you want to see some of my best photos of Red Lodge, go to www.localism.com/MT/red_lodge and click on the "+" sign in the box (on the right hand side) entitled "Pictures of Red Lodge".