Monday, 18 December 2017
The flickering blue light of a television emanated from one window. From another, the distressed cry of a baby. Further down the street there was the sound of a car door closing accompanied by a jangling of keys as a young couple arrived from a shopping trip. Another car passed by with loud music blaring from its windows. Somewhere in the distance a dog was barking. Other sounds were blurred by the ever-present low drone of traffic from the boulevard a few blocks away.
As I noticed the moon rising over the roof of a triplex at the end of the street, I mentally pictured myself standing in the street in front of my parents' house, facing in the same direction.
The house is on my right. The neighbour to the east has two kayaks resting in the back yard. Across the street is the large fenced yard of another neighbour, where two children race happily about in the twilight. Behind me, a dog's collar jingles as the animal trots beside its master as they walk. It's quiet enough to hear crickets in the gardens, as well the occasional chirp of a chipmunk or bird. No sound of traffic here, only the rare thrum of a passing train on the rail line or of a ship navigating the river.
It's clear why I feel more relaxed when I'm there. Rural communities tend to be less hectic and more closely knit than city suburbs. The trouble is, most such areas are farther away from services and a vehicle is a requirement - something we currently lack.
The town where I grew up is a mixture of the two. It's considered part of the "urban community" and has bus service, waste removal, and police patrols. However the fire station is volunteer, and the majority of the houses have septic systems instead of being hooked to a municipal sewer. Lots are large with many trees, giving a rural feel to the area. Wildlife is abundant: songbirds, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons with the occasional skunk and fox.
Within the next year, we might be taking the large step of moving from the two-bedroom condo that we currently live in to our own house. It will be a challenge to determine what kind of house is suitable for us, and what kind of community will meet our needs.
Bel Kaufman wrote, "Let it be a challenge to you."
That it will be.