I wonder about where I live sometimes. I know my fair share of people that have left to get away from the rain, the isolation, the disproportionately high property taxes, they have fled to more southern pastures, bigger centers, drier, less remote. More than a few have pangs of loss, feelings of regret, remorse, and of not realizing how good it was….
I was looking on line last night at much newer homes in much more desirable locations. I was looking at housing prices and amenities. I was wondering what it would be like to decide to move. It’s not like I’ve been planted for a long time. There was a time when I changed communities and hopped from one province to the next on a whim, rarely more than a year in one place, sometimes not even that long. I followed work and I moved easily, everything I owned fit in my little red two door hatch back. But now I’m here. I mean really HERE. I have a house, filled with furniture and all the paraphernalia that comes along with that. It is not so easy to throw the skis on the roof of my car and leave. But also I’ve put down some roots….
Fragile ones at first but I’m part of this community now.
I went for a walk at lunch the other day. The rain had stopped and it was dry enough to take a walk to clear my mind. I tried to look at what I’d miss, I also tried to look at what a tourist would see. I wandered over cracked sidewalks, and past potholes that could hide small Volkswagens, I noticed the bricks missing in the paving stones, I wondered how many others noticed the green algae and slime streaks that ran down the side of the buildings. How the windows in the second story of the Chinese food restaurants and over empty storefronts were covered in cardboard and the black scum of too much moisture collected in the corners. I looked at the cracked concrete walls and the abandoned store fronts.
It was a sad picture I saw. One of decay, of neglect. Of a sad little worn out town at the end of the road. A town I wouldn’t choose to visit. But somehow it’s still home. While I would not miss the mould, the decay, the rot, the neglect and the sense of abandonment… there are still things that make this place a good one.
I think about what it would pain me to give up – friends certainly, the 7 minute commute to work, the slower pace of a small town. The fact that I know more than half the shoppers in the grocery store on any given day. The winds that howl like mourning women and send the garbage cans tumbling end over end down the street. The storms that are wild and raw and powerful and we withstand them month after month without declaring any sort of disaster. I would miss the ease at which I move within this community, the ability to get things done because I know who to ask and where to go. The other thing that I have here is that I’m known in my own way as an artist. I’m not just another one of dozens of people who dabbles in doodles but some people in this town actually know me for my art, and my art alone. (how cool is that??)