REALITY?: City Mouse/Country Mouse (Updated)

072007The garden looked too dark in this morning’s light, and empty; not the image that inspired the path of thinking along those who live in cities and those who don’t.  These are peach trees, overgrown because for several years I’ve waited for the harvest that can produce the wine like that I made years ago.  Nature intervenes with late May frosts, or drought that drops the peaches from their grip.  This may be the year then, before the trees themselves will be cut down.  The grapes were planted temporarily in the vegetable garden, as were the peaches, grew too big beyond my attention now to be moved.  So now they reach up to cling to branches bent down with fruit.

We live in a fairly rural area, though not farmland by any means.  On an acre and a half we have the privacy enough that early morning I can wander in my bathrobe without being nabbed by authorities and committed to a home. Where I lived before in Harwinton I worked huge gardens in the backyard wearing only half of a bikini.  Of course, that was a while ago…

But there are people who live here in humongous houses that hate this small town life.  No bakery here much less a Target.  I talked with one woman who spends some time in another home in Florida, was raised in New York City, hates this one-horse town and the term “city girl” came up.  I’ve been following Steve’s dedicated interest in fixing urban problems, and some of what’s being done to change things in suburbia that to me, only appear to plop some mini-cities into areas.  One project such as this claims to bring living, working, and shopping area all into one, yet can it work? Will the people who want to live there be able to get a job there and also like to shop at the chosen-for-the-spot supermarket? Will those who do like shopping there be allowed in if they’re not in residence?  Does this assume nothing more than a throwback to Main Street, USA that with cars and malls has gotten out of favor to the point of becoming ghost towns?

I think we have to know what people want before we try to tell them how we should be living.  Some people in cities don’t want to move out to the world and work of mowing lawns and shoveling driveways.  Nature folk would hate the traffic and not likely be in tune with the rhythm of city life.  I just don’t think that a forced mixing of two different preferences in living style is going to solve the problems.

One thing I’d like to check out is the cost now of renting an apartment in a downtown area of a large city versus the monthly mortgage average on a comparably sized living area of a home in the suburbs of that city. And let’s be realistic, if someone has a lot of money and they can afford a huge home and that’s what they want, they should be able to have it without a trailer park next door.  It’s more than size and wealth that separate the two worlds; it’s way of life.  And if we’re going to solve the inner city problems, we have to make the city enticing for both the rich and poor who want to be there.  And likewise, make the country areas affordable to the poor who have the garden in their heart.

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