Ah, the summer. The time when people think about some kind of vacation. getaway, weekend trip. I’ve gone from city to country for the summer and have been reflecting on what happens to us city-dwellers when we’re surrounded by trees, not skyscrapers.
First- the shock of silence. Where can city-dwellers experience silence? Our lives are so intense, so filled with rush and roar and irrelevant sounds that intrude on most everything we do. But here the focus is on what different sounds wind and birds and water make. Natural sounds. Not shrill, staccato, grating, banging, clanging, generic noise. The silence makes you notice and breathe and finally turn inward, to listen to your own thoughts.
Then—space. Look at the horizon! When do we city-ites ever get a chance to see or even remember that? How that long look at the foreverness of the earth changes your perspective on what you, and life, are really all about.
And – time. The pace of how you function changes so radically. How easy it is to get from place to place here. And how much slower everyone operates. Time enough to chat with the clerk at the supermarket. To consider when and how you have your meals. Time enough to read, to talk, to look, to think – even to change plans and zig when you thought you would zag.
But most of all- experiencing the different attitude of people towards each other. You secretly think “how nice the service people are – they ask and discuss, even smile…” There is a recognition and acceptance of the fact that we’re all in this together- that we each need a little room and a little neighborly nod and some decency as we ply our time on this earth together.
Sure, we city-dwellers need to live where we do, to strive and grow and explore what we can accomplish. To enjoy and admire what people can create, even as it costs us personally. But there’s nothing like getting back to nature to find out what else really counts and what we’re missing