Grants, New Mexico is a beautiful setting: blue sky over red rocks and that eternal brown desert. A small, silent town of rugged folk. When I lived and worked in Albuquerque, my youngest daughter took ballet lessons and every Christmas the dance school took their production of the Nutcracker on tour to Grants. Being an able bodied male I was deputized to drive out hoards of giggling girls, set up the Xmas tree that grows big on just the right bar of music, and worst of all, dance as a party guest in the opening scene.
Then I was free to await the right bar of music to plug the lights in to make the Xmas tree “grow” and read the strange books I found lying around the dressing room of the local theater. The strangest was by a Scottish clergyman who set out to prove that Henry VIII’s break from Rome was part of God’s plan for the advance of the Anglo-Saxon race. But that is New Mexico for you. I love it.
Now I read that uranium mining may make a comeback in the area. I know the area well, for we closed the uranium mill tailings piles in the area: Ambrosia Lake being the most representative. I would happily go back to help them reopen the mines and get the town going again. Not sure I want to be part of the resuscitation of culture, aka dancing in the Nutcracker.
If the town comes “alive” again with miners, say the 4,000 predicted to come, we can only envy them the chance to live and work in that fantastic countryside. But does this constitute sustainable development or is this just another example of the cyclicity of life? I have moved on from those days as a father of a young ballet dancer; so has she; for now she is the mother of six; and moving from Community College to University to study something–maybe agricultural engineering or evolutionary psychology.
So too have those people who lived and worked there before. They did what humans have always done, and always will do: work to bring up their offspring and then move on as the opportunities wax and wane. So too they will return and the human spirit will be proven robust again.
One can only pity those people who remain, bitter and tired; still grousing about the past and trying to blame all their ills on imagined mining consequences. Inevitably we will read about them for they make good copy for young reporters who have not seen it all before. But that does not make them right or admirable.
The desert of the area is vast. There is great room for people and mining. Done right, as I know it can, we can all benefit. So my conclusion: kudos to Grants and great success with your renewed opportunities.