he rewards and pleasures of rural life are celebrated by many sorts of Americans. One such sort are blue-collar people who enjoy "country music" reflecting nostalgia for the simple life, for example in these lyrics by Tim McGraw:
"I'm gonna live where the green grass growsA second sort are rich, well-educated people who value the ecological virtues of the countryside, as in this caption to a lovely farmland photo at a Whole Foods store:
"Local Growers: The Pezzini family has been cultivatingIt's often observed that city people who move to some beautiful corner of the American countryside "think they've died and gone to Heaven!"- but teenagers who've grown up in the same rural place "are bored out of their skulls" and can't wait to leave for the big city. This observation illuminates the distinction between the Country Music and the Whole Foods people. The Country Music folk, in their youth, migrated from country to city in search of decent jobs and big-town pleasures. In later life they look back with longing upon their country roots, as described in an earlier stanza of Tim McGraw's song:
"Well I'm from a map dotTo which the bourgeois Whole Foods people would respond, "Yes, exactly!" to explain why they migrate from city to country in search of a sweeter way of life.
Perhaps you are one of these two sorts: "Country Music" or "Whole Foods" lovers of the rural life. In either case, these are among your pleasures:
Your country place is quiet in every sense--not much noise other than that from animals and weather; not much vehicle traffic; not much hubbub of humanity.
During days spent in and around your country place, you find that you already know most everyone you encounter. This engenders, almost subconsciously, a profound sense of comfort and relaxation. And trust trust that makes you happy to sit on your front porch and greet the few passers-by and invite them to set a spell; trust that encourages you to be the person for whom your handshake is your solemn bond.
Your country place is where you (or your forebears) have been for a long time, or want to be for a long time. It is most definitely NOT a "time share".
You find yourself caring deeply for the animal and plant life thereabouts. Even if you're fond of hunting and fishing, these are sports done with a certain reverence, and most likely for the purpose of augmenting the dinner table.
You're fully aware of the health of your nearby soil, and are likely to grow at least some of the food for your kitchen. And if there are farmers' markets selling the local food, you'll be there.
You take your exercise on local walking trails, probably not in a "park", though that's OK too. And in warm weather, you think of the local river or lake or "swimming hole"-- and NOT of a swimming pool.
Your community celebrations will most likely involve a rustic playing field for baseball, touch football, or suchlike. And of course everyone gets together to celebrate the Fourth of July in the timeworn rural American way.
"Country Music" and "Whole Foods" may have their differences- of class, of politics, or of accent (RODE-ee-oh vs. row-DAY-oh)- but they join in cherishing the American countryside and its pleasures, and all the more so as those pleasures get scarcer in our ever more crowded and technology-dependent new century.(printer friendly version)