City or small town living? Is it an easy choice?
Imagine the first warm days of spring. Throw the curtains wide and open the windows to let in some fresh air. It’s sweet, it’s caressing, and it lifts the spirit.
A bird might chirp. Is it a robin? Is spring really here? The spirit lifts higher. Once in awhile, the sweet air carries a touch of warm earth or maybe a trace of an early blooming flower. A buzz comes into hearing range and goes out just as quickly. If there’s flowers, there’s bees. Life is alive and well with a perpetual invitation to come along.
Or, throw open a window and peer out through the safety bars criss-crossing the opening. Along with the fresh air is the smell of exhaust mixed with the scent of hot oil and sauerkraut from the hot dog stand below. The sunshine lasts only as long as it stays above, soon to be blocked by the surrounding buildings. A siren screams in the distance and horns honk back and forth. The city is alive with activity; human activity.
It’s not unusual to run into grade school teachers, doctors and mayors at the county fair or a downtown festival. Greetings are called out with hugs all around and laughter. Someone will start picking on a guitar, and before long, several others have joined in. Those not playing tap along and yell out requests in between songs. The same happens in grocery and department stores, sans the guitars.
In the city, venturing outside the triple-locked front door is to enter anonymity. Neighbors are nameless as are the people passed on the sidewalks. The familiar face in the coffee shop is the girl behind the counter, and she’s not likely to strike up a conversation through her endless scowl. Fellow commuters on the subway look down and over, any way they can to avoid meeting another’s gaze. The loud silence is deafening and painful.
In the neighborhood, cars that pass by are those bringing neighbors home from work. When the sun sets, the world sleeps and the room is dark when the lights are turned off for the night.
On the city block, traffic is constant. The same daytime sirens and honking horns cut through a night that is lit with neon and streetlamps. A neighbor’s TV blasts, another neighbor’s argument is heard in detail, and the rooms are never completely dark.
Though country kids may choose to explore city life once on their own, perhaps they’ll return to the country when it’s time to raise their own children. Perhaps city kids dream of a tree in their front yard, a house instead of an apartment and to touch a horse they’ve only seen in photos.
Of course, this is a view through only one lens, one that has been focused on living close to the earth, out in the country. It is quiet, welcoming and comforting.
Home is a choice, city or small town. There is no place like home.