Here's the irony, though. Several years ago we drove for miles into the country to see a home that was for sale. Miles.....
The farther we drove, the more conscious I was of how far away we were from . . . everything! No cars, no homes, no people. It was like driving through a tunnel of sun and grass that had no end. All we could do was keep going going, farther and farther away. I guess you would say "away." Who would know? The isolation began to weigh heavily on me.
I twisted my hair. I counted my fingers and pretended to sing. At last we drove into the driveway of the home we had come to see. Neither of us moved--too lonesome to get out of the car.
"Can we go back home?" I asked. "Yes," my husband said.
I was quiet all the way home--startled by how the whole experience had effected me. I had always longed for "a place in the country."
That was 20 years ago, and yes, I still long for the simplicity of small town living, in spite of that endless drive, especially as construction continues around us. I read recently that another mega multi-use development is likely to be built several miles from us come next spring. When I read the article in our weekly newspaper, fretting crept in again like a bad monkey . "More construction?" I thought to myself. "More congestion?" I twisted my hair. I counted my fingers.
Then I remembered the trip through the long, lonesome tunnel, and the miles of isolation. Fretting eased up a bit. It didn't feel as urgent or as pushy as it once did.
It has been said of Atlanta that its people don't know how to drive unless there are orange barrels on the road. That's true, we don't, even up here well north of the city; constant road construction is part of what makes for a fast ride and fast people; but I have to admit now, people bring energy too, and new life, and connection.
Not to mention that our little piece of progress here in the foothills of Appalachia is still remarkably like small town living. I have a garden that may or may not give us tomatoes and herbs this year, and Tucker the Dog to keep everything well-balanced. We have crickets and plenty of trees and neighbors who bring us peppers from their garden. And cows right around the corner.
Oh, and the woods. Don't forget about the woods.