City Platy, Country Platy

I’VE LOOKED AT LIFE FROM BOTH SIDES NOW.

Mentioning the jackrabbits last article raised memories of growing up in the country. You don’t mind me going all reminiscent, do you? Schweet. Thanks!

When the parental units first informed us we were moving to the country, it was a thrilling unknown proposition for us city-born kids. There’d be roads with no pavement—and animals everywhere! Animals are cute and fun! Yay animals!

Sure enough, the place we bought came pre-loaded with several types of critters (who all received names and taught me a lot about non-human life). Between them, and abundant trees for my tomboy self to get up in, this new home was heaven. We explored our property, and often other people’s too (back when you could hop a fence and usually not get shot at). The cycles of life and death were on full uncensored display, from newborn calves to half-eaten pheasant corpses and a lot in-between. Nearly every season had its own complement of fascinations: winter put ice on rain puddles—who knew it existed outside the freezer?—which was fun to slide on and shatter on the ground or over one another’s heads. Spring brought colorful wildflowers which we made up names for, and free-range mud literally as far as the eye could see. Summer wasn’t as much fun, with the crazy heat and bug bites, but it meant no school—woohoo! Autumn sorta… just was. (Guess it was something I came to appreciate over time, like good beer or period movies.)

We lived about ten minutes outside of town—roughly fifteen thousand miles from anything, in little-kid terms. With puberty, that started to have an effect. Neighborhood friends either moved away or were pressed into labor on their parents’ ranches. “Townie” friends who acquired cars (which I didn’t have until after high school) came out to Bumfuck Egy—uh, the country—once or twice for the novelty of it, then claimed it was “too scary out there at night.” Between isolation and the ugly idiocy that accompanies adolescence, we started doing stupid shit for entertainment. We’d set fire to paint cans, tease rattlesnakes, hunt black widows, and dare each other to grab hot-wire fences for fun.

Everyplace I’ve lived since has been either in the city (which was a re-education in itself) or suburban. It didn’t crystallize right away, but rural life cultivated (see what I did there?) a love of nature and deep respect for natural rhythms. It’s still kind of a shot to be able to order a delivery pizza, walk to the store, or nip back home between errands. The craziest thing is that it often feels like there’s more privacy here. For all that isolation, I eventually learned that you’ve always got eyes on you in the country, even on your “private” property. (Not everyone has the stones to tease rattlesnakes or play with hot-wire, and you gotta have a hobby, I suppose…)

Living alone at least once in your life teaches you a lot about yourself. Maybe living in an opposite setting to what you’re familiar with is just as important.

Mona Treme sees a lot of evidence that [insert deity’s name here] has a sense of humor, and not just in the mirror.