Wednesday, August 24, 2011

View from a Country Mouse

Even though, as a kid and young adult, troublemaker, teen, I lived fairly close to St. Louis, my small town was still pretty rural. Less than 30k rural. So while not as rural as I am now - less than 10k - still fairly country-ish.

In my wild days I might have gone cow tippin' and been chased off some land by farmers with shotguns, and gotten my car stuck hopelessly in the mud. I might have dated boys that bailed hay and detassled corn in the summer. I might have gone to college that was literately in the middle of a corn field. And not in the "I literately died" way.

But as I have grown up and gotten older and learned to read Census Bureau stats, I have learned that only 16% of the country lives in areas 250k or less. That makes me feel...........small. How can I be only part of 16%? Everyone I know is rural too. *no shit*

But just as I have no idea what it is like to live in an urban area, I am sure there are readers out there that have no idea what it's like to live like a country mouse. So I offer the following:

That is about 3 minutes away from my house, on the way to town. And that's a good road. Notice the lines? Yeah, that means it's a main drag, or a two-laner (for two lane "highway"), as we like to call them. This is the pinnacle in the hierarchy of roads.

Two-laner > blacktop > country road > township road

Blacktops usually don't have the lines, are narrower and usually filled with tractors this time of year. Country roads usually aren't paved and township roads don't even have gravel and still make me nervous to this day. Telephone poles and corn and/or soybeans are the staples that dot the landscape. You can easily go 2 hours on a road like this and not hit a town.

Every once and a while, you will come to an intersection and get to gaze in the face of vast nothingness. Of miles and miles of gently blowing GMO corn and government subsidized land.

There are days when I wish for a better view. I would love to live in the mountains or on a coast, but I think the black farm soil of Illinois is in my blood and I would have to move back home. I would miss the small towns with one church, one bar, a K of C hall and one post office. I'd miss the view shared by only 16% of the country.

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