The Road Taken

We live on a rather short, dirt road with a few other neighbors — only five households year-round. The road is private, which sounds rather exclusive, but it is just one of many in Taos.

From my experience as a reporter covering highway departments in the rural hill towns of Western Massachusetts, I know it’s a good road because it has a decent crown and enough gravel so its surface holds up nicely even when it gets a bit muddy in the spring.

But now it is winter and we’ve had snow twice. Christmas Day we got several inches. I was the early one gone the next morning so I broke the first tracks. By time I returned home my neighbors had been out and back. I smiled as I saw their vehicles’ tires made other tracks. Within another day, the road’s surface looked as if a plow had done the work.

By mutual agreement we don’t want the road plowed. It would cost a fortune and besides I’m not so certain we would find a driver who’d be conscientious enough so we wouldn’t have to pay someone else to grade the road.

The strategy works, even when as much as a foot has fallen. Eventually our high desert sun does its job although lately cold that dipped down from the arctic has kept the road snowy. 

I like our system. There has to be an allegory here, perhaps, but right now I’m happy each neighbor does his or her part without being asked so we have a smooth, safe road during winter.

POSTSCRIPT ON BAD RABBITS POST: Remember how a hungry rabbit got into the engine of our Subaru and ate its wires? Here’s the post if you didn’t: Bad Rabbits 

Well, we decided the best strategy was to feed them something else. We spent ten bucks on a bale of alfalfa. There’s less than a quarter left of the bale and from the tracks in the snow plus the droppings we are feeding  more than one. We plan to get another bale this weekend. I’d say it is ten bucks well spent.


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