As I sit here now, I can hear the birdsong from my childhood window. It’s pretty, light, and happy. And I wish I heard it more. Now that I’m hearing it as we go into spring, I realize how I’ve missed it over the winter. And how I will miss it when I go back to my home in the city. I have been lucky to grow up in a small town, half an hour drive into anywhere useful. Lucky in ways I wouldn’t have realized till now. I could watch the sun rise, fall, and admire the stars in perfect clarity. I could wander for hours, down the street to the shop, up the road to the river, along the way to the reserve. And I might not encounter a single soul. It is so quiet, that at night, that all I heard was the chirping of crickets. Then in the morning, I would be greeted with harmonious birdsong. These are things I miss now I am with my love in the city.
But there are things I do not miss. Such as having to leave home an hour before work as to not get caught in the week day traffic. Spending more money than I’d like, because the local store is more expensive than the supermarket. Having nothing to go out and do with your friends, except go down to the park and fuck around on the playground. Such are the joys of living in a small semi-rural town. But instead I have to put up with other things. Like making sure all the doors and windows are shut, because someone might break in. Listening to the neighbors two houses down having a fight while we are trying to sleep. There are people, everywhere. There is no peaceful loneliness in which to just go, and escape to. There will be people when you walk down the street, when you go to the park, when you walk up your own driveway.
I find it kind of funny how people say it’s easy to get lost in the country. I get lost in the city all the time, even though I live here now. I could not tell you how many times I’ve misjudged where a shop was, and it turns out it was one street over. While in the country, I can remember how to get to a place as long as I’ve traveled it once before. I can pick it perfectly. They say that everything in the country all looks the same, endless paddocks, some houses, sheep and cows. And that’s why it’s so hard to find your way around. I disagree entirely. It’s easy. There is a gnarled old tree, before you hit a bridge, then a falling down house. After that there is a rise, and lastly, a field of highland cows. Keep driving, and if you hit the forestry, you’ve gone to far. It’s all the same in the city. Cars everywhere, aggressively colored shop signs, the constant murmur of people and movement. There is no birdsong in the city. Just the white noise of mankind moving determinedly forward.