Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘small town’

Living on the Edge

I’m not a downtown kind of girl, I’ve figured out.

I thought about this as I drove down the hill to go grocery shopping the other day.  I hate traffic.  I’m don’t think I’m unusual in this dislike.  Haven’t heard a lot of people lately who mention “Oh, I was stuck in this nice bit of traffic yesterday.  It was quite pleasant.”  The saving grace in that situation is, of course, good music.  If I’ve managed to stow a couple of good CDs in the car, a longer car ride can be quite bearable.  Of course, I’d prefer a long car ride along the coast, or up Haleakala to the Kula Lodge for some nice breakfast.  That sort of thing. 

Speaking of music, here’s a song to keep you company during this blog trip.  I like this:

So, what have I done?  I’ve found a new route to Costco that involves driving about a mile in the opposite direction, then going down the hill, then driving back towards town.  If traffic in town is light, my new route is about the same time.  If traffic in town is heavy, I save myself a bit of time.  But that doesn’t matter to me as much as the bliss of LESS traffic.  I don’t use this route for the grocery store (yet) because it would really be out of the way.  But it’s been so much nicer to drive past sugar cane and empty fields instead of track homes and the mall.

Because, about a mile away from my house, I’d be in the middle of sugar cane fields.  When I look up at the sky at night, I see stars.  I live on the edge of town.  And, as I thought to myself on the way to Costco, I realized that I’ve lived near the edge of towns my whole life.  Granted, most of my life has been spent in relatively small towns.  I think I’ve mentioned that – growing up, even though I technically lived in “town,” the area across from my home was grape fields.   I climbed the tree in my back yard (a lot) and on a clear day, I could see the Sierra mountains.  If I got in my car, I could be in wide open fields in two minutes. 

I went away to college to an Ag school in the middle of ag land.  Not hard to get away to open fields from anywhere in town.  Even when I lived in the dorms, I was close to empty fields.  I lived on the west edge of town.  I lived on the east edge of town (at least, it was the edge of town back then.  There’s a few extra miles of homes to the east nowadays.)  I lived on the south edge of town. 

Even when I made my way to Sacramento, I still managed to find a neighborhood on the edge of town.  Some days, after a bad day at work or a heartbreak of some kind, I would get in my car and seek solace in wide open space.  And that wouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes from my home.  I visit friends who live in Sacramento neighborhoods who are socked in by suburban development.  You get off the freeway and have to drive another 15 to 20 minutes through crowded streets to find their home.  I sometimes think that if I lived in those areas, I would suffocate.  If I were to climb up to the top of my roof (another thing I used to do quite often) and could not see open space in at least one direction, any distress I felt would just be multiplied.  I guess you could call it my “Heidi Syndrome.”  Take the simple country girl and stick her in the middle of a city and she wilts.  She wanes.  She weakens.   I am half Swiss.  I need my alps.

It’s not that I don’t like a good city.  OK, I don’t actually like many cities.  I love San Francisco.  That may be it.  I just need to be able to clear my head in open air.  And since I don’t often know when the need to clear my head will arise, I guess I have this instinctive need to be near open space.  Maybe it stems from my girlhood plans to run away from home.  That plan involved the mountains and my bike.  It was going to be a long ride, but I knew I had to get up to the hills.  I’ve had many recurring dreams over the years that end in me running as hard as I can towards hills and trees for solace.  I don’t know what I will find.  But the search for peace of mind always seems to start there.

I don’t know where our next move takes us.  Right now, Sweetie and my #1 and #2 choices are both fairly small-townish.  It will be easy to be near trees, hills, and open space in both these spots.  Who knows.  We could end up somewhere else.  I could suck it up and thrive in a boxed-in, artificially-lighted, urban home.  I could survive away from the edge.

If I own a helicopter.

Read Full Post »