It sounds idyllic doesn’t it? Moving out of the city or even out of the suburbs to the country where nature surrounds you, where the grey of cement is replaced by the green of trees and the sounds of birds are more prevalent than the sounds of vehicles. It is idyllic, it really is for certain people, those who have a more relaxed attitude about certain things. For others though, they no sooner move to the countryside when they want to start changing things. So please, please don’t move to the countryside IF:
IF #1. You are afraid of the dark – It is dark outside the city. Prepare yourself. Buy a flashlight if necessary. We have less man-made light and more night sky. We in the country like to see the stars. Those who are afraid of the dark want to put bright floodlights in their yards to make themselves feel safe and in doing so pollute the night sky diminishing its beauty for those of us who aren’t afraid and want to be able to find the big dipper from our decks and windows. If you are afraid of the dark and want to live in a place that is well lit at night, then I suggest that you stay in the city. But light or no light, I believe the dark countryside is a lot safer than a bright city street at night.
IF #2. You require a perfect lawn – There is no such thing as a perfect lawn in the country. Country roads and subdivisions are sprawling, non-gridded places that grow wild on the edges with natures bounty of weeds, shrubs, wild flowers and trees. Nature does what she is meant to do. Procreate. Everything creates seeds and these seeds arrive on the wind to create new growth in your lawns and gardens. And please do not spray with chemicals; which, luckily, in my province are now banned. Chemicals leach into the groundwater and into the lakes and into your well. Yes you probably have a well if you live in the country, one that supplies your home from the groundwater. How do you feel about drinking all those chemicals? How do you feel about destroying lakes? Either learn to live with weeds, pick weeds, mow weeds, weed-wack weeds or don’t move to the country.
IF #3. You are squeamish about, or just can’t live with, bugs – There are lots of ants and spiders and beetles and worms and wasps and bees and hornets and caterpillars and centipedes living in the country. There are creatures with long antennae and creatures that are slimy. There are creatures that look like leaves and others that look prehistoric. There are beautiful butterflies and fuzzy moths. And all of these will live in your yard and will sometimes get into your house. Get used to it. These creatures are just as much a part of nature as the trees, shrubs and wild flowers that procreate aplenty in rural areas. These creatures all have a purpose in nature. They belong to the ecosystem that you are choosing to live on. You are the stranger in this ecosystem. Feel free to stomp out the ones inside your home; and there will be the occasional out of control ants’ nest mounding in your yard or a wasps’ nest growing under your soffit or deck that will need to be dealt with; but please, for the same reasons mentioned above, do not try to eradicate them all with chemicals. Think of the groundwater and the lakes and the ecosystem that you will be destroying. Think of the future of the planet.
IF #4. You are partial to sidewalks – If you prefer to walk or run on a sidewalk, please note that our roads are mostly edged with gravel and weeds. Some roads are not paved. There are often ditches next to the shoulders of rural highways and country roads that allow water run off after heavy rains. Storm drains are rare in the country. And then there is the idea of concrete. Why would we want concrete invading the greenery and natural surroundings the countryside. What’s next, shopping plazas and paved parking lots? There are more than enough of these already in existence. If plazas and sidewalks are that important to you, then the country may not the best place for you to live.
IF #5. You want a perfectly clean toilet – like I said before, in the country you are probably on a well. What this means is that your water has no chlorine in it. You know the smelly stuff they put in city water and swimming pools. The same stuff that is used in bleach–chlorine bleach. Personally my well water tastes amazing. We have a chlorine-free water system that removes a few things to make it drinkable and I drink a lot of it without worry. But some well water may contain small quantities of iron or rust. These things are perfectly safe to drink but have a tendency to discolour your toilet. Also, bacteria will grow easier in your john because you won’t have the ongoing disinfectant process provided by chlorine. What this basically means is that you may have to scrub it daily if you want it to always be perfectly shiny and clean and, even then, you can’t scrub away rust stains.
IF #6. You like to party through the night and well into the next morning – Sound travels farther in the country, possibly because it is so very quiet. Your party sound will keep a lot of your neighbours, who are used to this quiet, awake. They don’t mind you having a good party, but when it starts to stretch into the wee hours and the bass of your music is pounding through their walls and windows long after it should, your inconsideration will not be forgotten, especially if it is a regular habit. We like our quiet. We like the sounds of silence and the sounds of nature–the music of the wind and the rain, the bullfrogs and the loons. Hopefully you will too.
So if you are thinking of moving to the countryside, please consider these points. Make a pro and con list to decide what you can and cannot live with. Hopefully you can develop an appreciation for bugs and weeds and dirty toilets. Hopefully you will grow to love dark nights and the stars. And hopefully you won’t want to start changing things to be more like the place you left shortly after you arrive.
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Photos Jenn Stone