A buddy of mine moved out to the country a few years ago. It’s not country like Mayberry, RFD country, but it’s definitely a less urban setting than where he’d live most of his life prior. After he had to sell his house earlier this year, he moved into an even more rural area, a little sleepy burg of less than 10,000 people. In this area, houses which are about a third the cost of the median home where I live are considered big, expensive estates.
Since his move, he’s been trying to get me to relocate. Tonight I started to think about the proposition for the first time in any seriousness. He’s doing pretty well for himself now, and his fiancée – who makes less money than I do when I’m working, or when I last worked, at least – makes a very handsome living in this sort of setting.
The lights and noise around here are becoming a bother to me. I don’t necessarily want to have to live on (and work!) a farm, but farm living has its appeal in many ways. I’ve begun to think seriously about moving to an area where the cost of living is a bit easier, the incomes required lower, and the housing costs still reasonable. In this area, there’s enough affluence and professional athletes to make the housing costs ridiculous, the taxation of this county is pretty high for property, and while things aren’t as expensive here as in The Big City and its enshrouding county, they’re high enough. It’s more reasonable to live here than where I have in the past, but the appeal of that easy, small-town countrified life holds a lot of draw for me, especially as I get older.
I don’t see a ranch or farm anywhere in my near future, and I still think it’d be nice to have neighbors and friends within reaching distance for some reason, but the idea of a tiny little town and being in a place where noise and traffic haven’t yet reached is … well, really frickin’ cool.
I thought I was a city boy once, but I’ve changed my view on that over time. The older I get the fewer people I want around me. Most times I’m content with my wife and children. And when I’m not content with that, I want to be all by my lonesome. So right now, I’ve got all the comp’ny I need. But I’d love to go to sleep at night without the constant drag of sound on my ears, the whine of the interstate, or the roar of the too-near thoroughfare. I’d love to hear the breeze rustle through the grass, or listen to the crackle of a fire in a fireplace without the heavier drone of the dishwasher, the furnace blower, the refrigerator compressor, the water heater blasting … I want to be able to have all of that be somewhere else, muted and toned down, gagged. I want these comfortable autumn nights to be affairs where I can open the windows without fear, and without the dread of the din of the outside crashing in an audible tsunami around me.
For now, I’m stuck, and this isn’t the worst area in which I could live. But sometimes, I ache for the simplicity and quiet of the rural setting. More than the urban sprawl of single family dwellings which passes for “suburbia” now, and less than a remote farm where isolation can be a hazard. But something where I can’t hear my neighbors or have to deal with the sounds of cars, voices, planes, trains, buzzing electric wires, cascading sounds of life in the 21st century.
How about you? Are you a city or suburb dweller? A ruralite at heart? What’s your preference, and why?
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