Life in Roswell, so far

It's been about two months since I moved to Roswell. I'm still getting settled in, but I have definitely started forming my own opinions about this place.

On the whole I like living here, and one of the major reasons for that is my job. The Roswell Museum and Art Center has an outstanding collection of art and artifacts, and while it's admittedly been a bit daunting having to wrap my head around a whole new collection, I'm really starting to see some great potential in terms of exhibits. I also happen to have some great co-workers, and I feel very welcome here.

Roswell itself is an interesting place, and very different from Shelburne. I don't spend much time downtown, really, it's a little touristy for me, but if you know where to look, there are some beautiful areas worth exploring.

Bitter Lake, located about 7 miles outside of Roswell

Lea Lake, part of Bottomless Lakes State Park

There are also some great cultural resources here. In addition to the RMAC, there's the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, the Little Theater, and the Roswell Symphony Orchestra. There's also the Dragonfly Festival, the Farmers Market, and other local events to keep me busy.

Fish display at the Dragonfly Festival

No place is perfect though, and just as Shelburne had things that irked me, so does Roswell. I get whistled  or honked at regularly when I'm walking to get my mail or run an errand, for instance, and I find that chauvinistic and irritating. Look, I'm not wearing shorts to impress you: I'm wearing them because it's 95 degrees outside. Let me check my mail in peace, okay?

What concerns me most about Roswell, however, is its inferiority complex. Roswell considers itself a "small town," and as such it feels that it will never be on par culturally with any big city, so it shouldn't bother with trying.

Sorry Roswell, but with a population of nearly 50,000, you're not a small town. In fact, your scale is comparable to Burlington, the biggest city in Vermont. And while Burlington is not New York or Chicago, it does pride itself on its cultural resources. You have a lot of great resources too, Roswell, so embrace them.

Yet I enjoy living here, not least of all because of the wonderful people I've met. I've found that Roswell is a welcoming community, and that's made my move here much, much easier.

I was reminded of this a few nights ago, when I celebrated the burning of Zozobra, a Santa Fe tradition, with my two of my wonderful new friends and neighbors. I've only been here two months, but they kindly invited me to help decorate and ignite a miniaturized version of Old Man Gloom with them.

Our homemade Old Man Gloom
As I tucked a napkin covered with last year's woes into the figure's skirt and watched him erupt into flame, I felt the weight of the past lifting off my shoulders. Roswell may not be perfect, but it's got a lot going for it too, and I'm happy to be here.