I grew up in a big city. It had everything a teen could dream of; movie theatres, cool hangouts, clubs, shops of all sorts and sizes. It also had a ton of things most people can live without; like pollution and noise, lots and lots of noise.
I haven’t lived there in years, but I can still conjure up the sheer chaos that you could never escape. It surrounded you where ever you went, night or day, inside or out. By the time I left I couldn’t wait to live somewhere more peaceful, somewhere I wouldn’t get stuck in a traffic jam at 2 in the morning. Somewhere I could close my eyes and hear birds instead of car horns. I had visions of a large home in a little country town. I would ride my bike to the market, get my books from a little town library, we would know all the neighbors, and our kids would play in the yard with all their friends.
Instead of my idealistic dream country house we have a small home in suburbia. There’s no bike riding to market, no kids running in packs. We only know a handful of our neighbors, and to be honest, I really prefer buying my books to borrowing them from the local library. I’ve had to revise my vision quite a bit to allow some room for reality.
We work full time, we drive everywhere, C goes to daycare and our yard isn’t very child friendly. The farmer’s markets are nothing like the markets I knew growing up. We don’t have time to do our own gardening or to get to know the people we see in the street. It’s a far cry from the home of my dreams. But, in the end, it’s all right. We can drive a little bit and get to a big city. We have museums and theatres to patronize. We have great restaurants to sample. And when the urge strikes, we can drive in the other direction and be in the country in under an hour.
And yet… I hold a place in my heart for that country home. I can see the dog and the cats roaming around. I can smell the trees and the flowers. I can picture myself standing in a big country kitchen, rolling out pie dough. I can hear us talking softly oh the porch after the kids have gone to bed and the house is all tidied away. It’s a simpler life, one that I hanker for on days when I’m overwhelmed. It’s my happy place.