Waking up with the window open to a morning breeze and the creek running a bit high after a rainstorm a few days back leaves me with a feeling of refreshment I have yet to recreate elsewhere. And believe me, I’ve tried.
Of course, waking up in the country usually leaves a student whose school is in the city in the inevitable place of only being able to experience these mornings for a small period of time. The rest of the year the ringing of the alarm wakes me up long before dawn so I can be on the road in time to make it to class.
Obviously this raises the question as to whether living in one world and going to school in another is worth all the time and trouble. The answer is yes.
It’s a life not recommended for the faint-of-heart though. Those early-morning wakings are followed by two giant mugs of coffee before hitting the road, where I have to dodge enough road kill to carpet a room. I also get stuck behind more than a few vehicles whose drivers can’t seem to accelerate anywhere close to the speed limit, and, of course, there are daily road closures, construction and detours.
It’s not just the drive itself that’s really trying my patience, either. The monthly bill my car insurance company sends me — seemingly charging an extra dollar for each kilometre I drive during the month — is right up there. Just a tip for anyone thinking of commuting, don’t crash.
So what makes all that hardship and money lost (have I mentioned gas prices?) worth it? The most perfect sunrises imaginable that follow nights of actually seeing the stars in the sky. The driving itself provides me with time to unwind, something seemingly unheard of in the city. The feeling of clean air in my lungs, air that’s usually filled with smells of tree bark, wild plants, flowers and herbs. Heck, even the manure smell that comes around when the seasons turn is almost nice, because it reminds me of the simple life I just can’t seem to let go of.
There’s living in a town where everyone knows everyone else’s name, where each person works and what that person was up to on the weekend. It’s an intimidating concept for a lot of people, but one that keeps me grounded.
Overall, I wouldn’t move closer to school for the world. It’s worth every flattened skink, every tired construction worker turning a sign to alternate traffic flow every four minutes, every cold, early morning started with an ice scraper in hand, every dollar and every minute late for class.
The air’s just different here in a small town, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to come home to it every evening.