Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Country Mouse

Everybody knows the children's' story about the town mouse and the country mouse.

It has been plain to me for a number of years that I am most definitely a country mouse. I prefer the quiet pace and low light pollution that country living affords.
One of the things that I really value about our life here is that I have developed friendships with people who are not my own age. I love that I have made some good friends of retirement age. In addition, now that George and his friends are getting older, I can start to relate to them on new levels. It is wonderful to see how the relationships mature.

Today as I was driving through our village, going out to work I had to stop and talk to three people. One was a woman, same age as me who is also a mother of three. The other two were retired gentlemen out being early morning civic minded people.

For so long, all my friends were people of my own age group and that was it. I wish that I had cultivated multi-generational friendships earlier! Think of all I have missed out on!

This evening, I was watching the movie You've Got Mail. Although the acting can be a bit wooden in areas, I love the homage it makes to life in New York City. One of the earliest lines Meg Ryan has is, "I love New York in the fall". This line has followed a scene of her walking through a beautiful autumn morning in New York with a sound track by The Roches. The voices of the Roch sisters make for great NYC sound tracks. They feature in another of my favourite New York movies, Crossing Delancey. ( Suzzy Roche has a speaking part in this movie)

These and other movies have made me think that perhaps if I had to live in a city, specifically New York, things wouldn't be so bad. I would find things about life in a big city to which I can attach sentiment. Certainly there will be much more culture in a big city as opposed to life in the country. I love museums, cinemas and restaurants. These things are in very short supply where I live and I would have much better access to them in a city.

The seasons would be marked differently. In the autumn, instead of noticing the disappearance of the summer birds, I would see that school supplies are being promoted.

Summer would be heralded by young girls wearing short skirts instead of what's in bloom in the hedgerows.

Never mind. I don't think I'll swap. I'll stay out here.

Today, I rescued a couple of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. The Man of the Place had the hatch to the attic space open this afternoon and there must have been some butterflies overwintering in the beams. They saw the light from the open hatch and made their bid for freedom. Their escape was hampered by windows and they flapped about, desperate to get out into the sunny day and get on with their butterfly business. I grabbed them as carefully as I could so as not to damage their wings and re-released them outside.

The other sign of spring is that Billy, the dairy farmer between us and the village has let his dairy cows out into the fields this morning for summer.

The cows' first day out is a joy to behold. They've been in the dairy barns all winter, eating silage and pellets. Now they're let out onto the new season's grass and open air. You should see them leap about in the first few hours. They skip around like they're calves again.

Naturally this means that if I don't time things right, I'll be stuck behind my neighbor moving his dairy cows to or from the milking parlour. I actually don't mind this too much. If I get any cow slobber on the car, it comes right off. Sadly not everything comes off easily. Cow dung, dried onto your car is a real tough thing to get off. It sticks like glue!

Before The Man of the Place and I were married and he was looking for a house to buy for us, I said that I didn't want to live more than five minutes away from cows. It's not that I'm really nuts about cows, but it was the closest guideline I could think of for measuring how rural a house might be. If I was under five minutes away from cows, that meant that I wasn't in a city. It was a very telling statement. I could have said that I didn't want to be more than five minutes away from a museum or the house had to be within pizza delivery zones, but not me, I had to gauge my accommodation by proximity to cows.


Jay said...

Moving from a rural area to a more urban area would mean pretty big changes. I lived in San Antonio, which is a pretty big city, but it's also an over-grown cow town in many ways too. So, that wasn't like moving to a REALLY big city.

But, I'm pretty sure I could adapt pretty quickly if I were to move to NYC or Chicago. At least I'd like to try.

claude said...

I am a town mouse, most definitely, but I can understand what you are saying ;)
About relationships, I think that whether you live in the country or in town doesn't make much difference, as I have experienced pretty much the same thing.
I like being in the country for a short time but then quite enjoy going back to Paris. Loved your post, food for thought.

Ex-Shammickite said...

The change of seasons is very marked here in Canada. In fact SPRING arrived today (very late)... the first warm day, blue sky, sunshine. And even though it's still only 13C, and a cold wind blowing, Canadians have the tops down on their convertibles, and are wearing shirtsleeves and shorts. And this is in both the country towns and in the big smoke of Toronto.

Betty said...

I used to think I was a city mouse, but I have lived in a small town for so long, now, that I don't think I could get used to the city. I love to visit cities, for shopping and plays, etc., but don't think I could live there any more.

Kell said...

I used to tell my hubby that if we lived where a pizza couldn't be delivered, then we lived too far out. I've changed my mind since then. I'd really like to try to be a country mouse. For now I'll just live vicariously through you.

Xtreme English said...

well, food for thought, indeed! I remember one of our neighbors in Bismarck saying, to my great shock and surprise, "If you were my wife, I'd move you to the busiest street in a big city!" Aside from what that particular statement says about the things that go on in the country (nothing!), it did make me think, and it's true. I LOVED living on Bismarck Avenue, but I adored living on 17th Street in DC. On 17th Street, I could look out of my window any hour of the day or night and see people walking. I still love that. I love being able to walk to a bookstore or a movie theater or a great restaurant..or a museum...there's scads of them close by. I love the country, but I adore the city.

susan said...

We are about 20 minutes from the nearest cow and going the other direction 30 minutes from all Seattle has to offer. Kinda the best of both worlds, although I'd like to go just a little more rural...but not close enough to smell the cows!

Eryn said...

Cows=country for me too, Peggy. I love seeing them when I'm taking a road trip. They are such docile creatures.

I once convinced a girl that 'mountain cows' had shorter legs on one side so that they could stay balanced while they slept on the hillsides. Hee hee.