A Walk Around The Suburbs

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I grew up in town. And I always thought it would be nice to live in the country. Lots of space, green fields, animals, trees, and no close neighbours. I had that whole 'grass is always greener on the other side' thing going.

And then one day, it became a reality. We moved to the country. Built a big, sprawling country house, got chickens, grew some barley crops, leased our land out to a farmer for his sheep. And when I looked out my window this was all I could see, with a neighbour or two dotted here or there, far in the distance. A sight to gladden my introvert heart. As my grandmother used to say to me with her acute understanding of our kindred hearts, "You and me, we like our own company."

But then we had to give it all up and we moved back to town. At first I had that hemmed in, claustrophobic feeling, surrounded by rooftops and driveways. It was hard adjusting to hearing car doors banging nearby and people talking, and realising it had nothing to do with you.

But as I was out walking this morning, on my new daily exercise routine, I realised that I actually like it.
I like living in town. I like living in the country too, don't get me wrong, but town isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

There are some things I miss about the country and the feeling of space is at the top of the list - even my children were commenting on that the other day.

But as I was speed-walking (my kind of speed walking which isn't really, truly speed walking) along the pavement this morning, I liked listening to the sounds of my neighbours around me.

A door slamming, snatches of conversations as I pass fences. Old ladies out walking their little dogs. Cats sunning themselves on outdoor chairs. Everyone says good morning. A sprinkler buzzing, a lawn-mower humming, a car pulling out of a driveway with the wife waving goodbye from the front door. I even heard her call out 'love you.' Huh - so I'm not the only one that does that! I do not take my dog out walking in the suburbs. I leave that for my husband. See, our dog is not a town dog. He's a country dog and he has country-dog ways about him. Cats are Satan and people are for chasing, so.... I leave that one to the man, who is stronger than the dog, and I am not.

In a suburb like this, where it is full of lots of retired folk, I see plenty of tradesmen's vans going up and down the street. A fence going up here, and a lawn being re-conditioned. A tree being taken down. The gardener getting his mower out of the trailer behind his truck. And this house is getting new curtains, because the curtain van is parked out on the street.

Old people are generally good gardeners, and they're usually up early working before the busy time of the day, so I see plenty of pretty flower beds, and say hello to their owners.

One day, maybe, if there's ever enough money, I will be able to pay homage to my introvert heart and buy a yacht and see my days out drifting around the bays of the Marlborough Sounds; but for now, today, life finds me here, cooped up in a town, with people living within a stone's throw of me, and I find that it's not so bad after all. In fact, I quite like it.


Sandy Addison said...

Look at your lovely town. It is nice to see you have got to a place of contentment.
Did you get to keep the Jacaranda? Ours are just starting to flower - and make a mess everywhere.

Julia said...

I enjoyed our walk "together" Rachel. I'm glad you are starting to feel more at home in town.

My daughter has a "halti" for Kaeli (16 month old Huntaway-Cross) which seriously helps maintain control over those "farm-type" dogs who think God made cats to be chased lol!

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