Returning to my childhood home in a rural western community, I noticed more ranch land swallowed up by cookie cutter houses. My dad had bought a small house at the very edge of town in the early 70’s. The house was probably moved from an old mining community to its present location. When I was ten, we built onto our home to accommodate our growing family of seven (my parents added two more after that). For most of my growing up our house was considered out of town limits. My dad liked the isolation. We were surrounded by rodeo grounds/city park and fields. It was an amazing place to be a child. Oh, the adventures we had! We used to have an open sewer river running past our house that we would jump over and pretend to fish from. I only fell in once.
My parent’s property was annexed into town and then a few years a go the owner of the field to the southeast of my parents property died and his son decided to rezone the property as a residential. It was annexed into town. Lots sold slowly at first and now they are almost full–another cookie cutter neighborhood. Worst of all, the houses block a chunk of my parents magnificent mountain views. For over 40 years my family lived accustomed to distant neighbors and now we can hear them talking on there side of the fence as we sit out in our once 0nly-nature-noised filled back yard.
After living and nurturing a family in suburbia for over 20 years you would think I’d prefer the conveniences and social aspects compared to my rural upbringing. Suburbia has its cons as Leigh Gallacher so elegantly pointed out in her book, The End of the Suburbs. I see her points pertaining to suburban decline. Young people prefer not to drive and are getting their driver’s licence later; they also like their parents and don’t mind living with them into their mid 20’s or later. Many people prefer denser, walkable neighborhoods near work when they do move out. Families moving to more urban development prefer less commute time and more time with their families, healthier lifestyle of walking and biking everywhere, and the cultural diversity and experiences of urban life.
Despite the advantages of urban living or urbanized suburban living I would still like a piece of rural life in the middle of a city near all our conveniences. I’ve got a garden and some trees–it will have to do for now.
May you thrive as you learn contentment wherever you are.