These two quotes seem important in terms of the choices my partner and I made today. We live in a small town in a wildcat region of oil extraction and industrial development in the central north of the USA.
Since folks first homesteaded this area, it has been a farming region with a small population who have been dependent in a most positive way on the community these mostly immigrants to the United States were able to create. There is a strong sense of comaraderie amongst those who live here. However, as the nation changed and the farms themselves became industrialized in terms of the ability of one machine to do the work of every so many laborers, the population has shrunk as young folks moved to other places were work was available.
When we arrived, we were citizens # 56 and 57 in this small village called a city in North Dakota. Today, five years later, we are # 124 and 125. Not a huge growth over this period of time, but change is often difficult. My partner is the man who maintains the ailing infrastructure of the village. He is intent on bringing the water and sewer systems into the 21st century, not an easy task. He is assisted in making the necessary changes because of surplus oil revenues. The money is here. All that is needed is the intention, the determination, and the expertise to use it properly. Success depends on not only his skill as a engineer, but also on his success as a social change agent.
I, on the other hand, am a retired English teacher. My contribution includes putting words to paper. This is a region where folks have mistrusted what has been written down. Many are hesitant to draw up plans or print guarantees in black and white. However, since we have arrived a zoning and planning ordinance has been constructed in order to give an outline to future development. We've all seen cities that grew too fast without a pro-active plan for that growth. Our little town is currently protected to some extent from such willy/nilly change. It has been a communal process built on the already existing sense of trust in the community itself.
Today, we made a purchase of an empty house on main street in order to assure that a new family and not a man-camp will be located in the center of our city. We don't need another house. We don't need another responsibility. We do need a family, however, with children and pets, laughter, and energy. We tried to model what we hope others will contribute to this lovely prairie village.