In the little town which I, for now, call home everything is quiet. Though I live so close to the old main street (before all of the strip malls were built in the newer Western part of town) the only sound outside is the whistle of the train as it passes through the heart of this sleepy town. It’s still more development than where I’d like to be but life has a way of putting you places that are nowhere near where you want to be.
It’s funny where we find ourselves, sometimes. I grew up on a farm outside of a town with less than 500 people only to go off to what I considered a big city for college, then back down to a community that created their own style: rurban. I loved being from the country. Yes, I had to go to a different town to go to school and another town in the opposite direction for groceries and gas but everything seemed so much closer. People would laugh at the distance I’d have to go for a bag of milk and I’d just turn around with “it takes me 10 minutes to drive to the store which is the same, if not less, for you so how is my distance so much worse?”
Being in the city was the worst. I could never see the stars and it made me feel so claustrophobic. There was noise constantly. Back home if you heard emergency vehicles you’d call your friends and family in the direction they were headed to make sure they were ok. I became numb to the noise and that frightened me. I became depressed because when I looked out my window all I could see were parking lots and highways. “Barrie isn’t a big city,” folks would say, “what would you do if you went to school in Toronto?” Easy, I didn’t take that risk by avoiding applying to programs there. I was glad when co-op time rolled around; it meant I could go home for 4 or 8 months and recharge before going back to the noise.
After college I found myself in the smaller, but still too big for me, town of Alliston. I found an apartment in the quieter old part of town and it was much better than Barrie. I had green space nearby and I could see the stars on clear nights. There were still noises from emergency vehicles but it was significantly less than Barrie. The only thing I had to get used to was the train that runs through the middle of the only roads to get through Alliston and its whistle. A few months later I moved to another apartment, this time further into the old main road, closer to the newer part of town, to live with my boyfriend. I found myself spending more time outside biking and walking the trails that are hidden throughout town. We found beautiful old homes, hidden parks, secret trails, and hole in the wall restaurants. It was beautiful and peaceful, for what I consider to be a larger town.
For what this place defines itself as (rurban: small-town feel with all the amenities of a big city within walking distance) it is perfect and I don’t think changing anything could make it better.
(A response to We Built This City)