Friday, May 6, 2011

Living in Small Town USA

It always seems to be during this time of year when I begin to stop and start reflecting on the world around me. Sometimes this comes in the form of looking at what is working and what isn’t working in my family, our homeschooling, or with relationships in general. This year I have found myself listening to the world around me instead. I guess I have had a lot of time to do so since both Wednesday and Thursday I found myself making the long trek to Olympia for appointments. That is between 80 and 90 miles round trip, depending on what part of Olympia I am going to.

After being born and raised in and around one of the larger cities in our State, where the common sounds throughout the day and night consisted of traffic, sirens, you know just the city noises, I find us living in an area where the silence is so penetrating that it is almost as loud as all that noise use to be. The last couple of days I have really concentrated on what do I hear in our little world.

I hear the birds and that occasional owl that hoots throughout the day. There is the train that whistles through, and occasionally a truck of motorcycle up on the freeway. At night we might hear a youth baseball game playing just to the West of us. We will hear the crack of the bat as a child hits the ball, the cheers of the teammates and parents alike. Sometimes off in the distance we might hear a dog or maybe two barking at something they see in the dark.

We will hear when someone in the neighborhood opens and closes their front or back door, possibly their car door. Generally though by 9:00 p.m. everyone is settled in their homes and as you look around you see the warm lights shining through the windows from the houses, sometimes seeing a family sitting together in a living room or a dog poking it’s head up just to look out.

We do not have a lot of foot traffic, even giving we only live two blocks from the Middle and High Schools. There will be the usual neighbors walking their dogs passing by, at the same time every day like clock work. The mailman coming to the door to deliver the mail, and the paper boy riding by on his bike as he delivers the newspapers.

Four blocks away is our downtown, the busy part of town, yet even at rush hour, the traffic though heavy seems to move in such a rhythm that is just expected. On very rare occasions we might hear off in the distance a siren heading East or West on the Highway, and possibly not far from our home since we live so close to the police station, but generally it is so quiet here that I sometimes wonder what the police do with all the spare time on their hands. 

Silence, peacefulness, quiet, all that combined with the knowing that we have all this beauty that surrounds us, from rivers, lakes, streams, trees, fields, Ocean, farmland, and so much history. These are all the pleasures that I have been reflecting upon this past week. Truly I just can not imagine living any place else, nor raising Selena any place else.

Sure we have some drawbacks but doesn’t every place? That is ok, I will put up with a little cooler temperatures, a little (well a lot more) rain then most, if it means that I get to share all this beauty and quietness with the people I love the most.

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  1. It's a very poetic post, and I am glad that you see the gifts and benefits of living in a small town. Interestingly, I was just thinking yesterday looking at our street that it has the feel of a small town even though we live in a pretty big city. Of course, here we have to pay through the nose for this luxury and the truth is that in 15 minutes we will be in downtown San Jose.

  2. I agree it's a very poetic post. It's hard to imagine being able to hear the door open and close