Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Woods

I realized something today as I was paging through the dictionary trying to find a "W" word that fits my theme. It's pretty earth-shattering news. Are you ready?

I'm a small-town girl.

I'm living in a big city.

Somehow this just doesn't add up.

Oh, it's not that I don't enjoy living in a place where there's always something to do, people actually outnumber chickens, and everybody doesn't know my name (and my business), but sometimes I feel pangs of homesickness when I look around me and see something like this

Noisy, noisy traffic and not enough trees.
(Photo courtesy of Scott Meltzer, Public Domain Pictures)

instead of this

Peaceful, idyllic woods. Note the abundance of trees and the curious lack of cars.
(Photo courtesy of David Wagner, Public Domain Pictures)

I grew up surrounded by the woods, and I miss it. There's something almost otherworldly about the loud silence of the wind blowing through the trees and the birds calling to each other and the chipmunks chattering as they scamper across the pine needles and fallen leaves. I always felt creative when I hiked the trails or sat down on half-rotted, mushroom-covered logs, just breathing in the mossy scent. I miss lying on my back and watching as hundreds of trees scratch their limbs against the sky. I miss so many things.

(Except the ticks. I don't miss the ticks. Would you?)

In all seriousness, though, what it boils down to is this: I grew up with the woods literally in my backyard, and I didn't realize until I left home just how important it was to me. To paraphrase glam metal band Cinderella, you don't know that you got the woods until it's gone.

I would love it if someone could find a way to plunk all those trees down in my backyard here in the city. Then I would have the best of both worlds.

And that sounds pretty perfect to me.



What about you? Are you small-town or big-city at heart? What do you miss?

51 comments:

  1. It's funny how humans can adapt but we still hanker for the things that we grew up with. I'm a village girl but now live in a medium sized town and the noise is horrendous sometimes (motorway hum, lorries rumbling and thundering down the road etc.). One day we may be lucky enough to get back to our roots.

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    1. I agree with you about the noise. There's the traffic, the neighbors with their often too-loud music, the sirens, the construction sounds... It gets to be too much sometimes.

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  2. I grew up in a naked 1950s brand new suburb of Minneapolis. But we were surrounded by prairie grassland for years (until they gradually built over all of it) and there was a lake with woods...so I am more a country girl than a city girl at heart. I spent all my time outside in all weather.

    I miss trees. Terribly sometimes. Miss nature. Was happiest the years I lived in the country where I couldn't see a neighbor.

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    1. That's what it was like when I was a kid--we had neighbors, but we couldn't see them. It was nice to know they were there, especially if we needed help, but we still had our peacefulness. I don't have that here in the city. My neighbors are mere feet away. I probably know more about their lives than they do, which means--gasp!--they probably know a lot about mine as well!

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  3. I love trees. I like medium-sized cities. New York is too big for me, but Nashville (where I live) is a great size, because there are still trees.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to find a good compromise! As I wrote in my post, if someone could plant that woods down in my backyard, I would have the best of both worlds!

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  4. Oh girl, I completely understand (my post is about Wilderness, today :). There's something so ethereal about trees and woods that can't be found in the City, except when it snows and it's the middle of the night and all peaceful and quiet :)

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    1. I agree. Ethereal is the perfect word to describe the woods!

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  5. What I want most of all, what I crave most of all, is quiet. But the good quiet, like the quiet of the beach before the crowds come, not the creepy quiet of a deserted place. :)

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! :)

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  6. I'm a bit of both.. I looooove to be outside, but still like to get into the bustle of the city once in a while. We've landed in a perfect in-between place. Close enough to the foothills to feel like we can really getting away, but close enough to Denver to get some city time when we want it. :)

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  7. i loved the woods as a kid--now i wish my kinda like woods backyard was not--sweet post

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  8. I always forget how much I love nature until I'm out in it...at least this gives you a good excuse to travel!

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    1. True! I go home to Michigan once every year. I wish it were more often.

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  9. I'm from a small town, but I now live in a not-so-small town. I would like to move back to a small town, but I don't think I could convince my husband. :)

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    1. I know what you mean. There's no convincing my husband, either. :)

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  10. I love the woods! (But I don't much care for ticks and mosquitos!)

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    1. Oh, if there's one thing that will chase me indoors, it's a mosquito. Ugh.

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  11. I'm a city girl, and I love having trees in the yard. However, I can't stand when caterpillars fall out of the trees onto my clothes. That's when I want a haz-mat uniform for yard work.

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    1. You've just reminded me: one year the pine tree out in our backyard was covered with some of kind of worms. I used to hate to go anywhere near that tree. I wish I would have had a Hazmat suit!

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  12. I'm a city girl, LOL. Whenever we would move some place new, hubby would always want to maybe get a house with some land and I'd be "I like to be closer to people" LOL. I've always lived in suburbs of big cities, like for instance we live close to San Diego now. I like the adventures of a big city and what they have to offer. Maybe one day you can get back to the woods!

    betty

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    1. Maybe. I think what I'd really like is to live in the suburbs of a large city, where I can have a good-sized piece of land, neighbors whose houses I can't quite see, and maybe even a small woods (even a grove of trees would do!). I do love the city for all it has to offer, but I miss some of the things I had in my small-town life as well. I want the best of both! LOL

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  13. I am a city girl! I don't want woods in my yard. (If I ever get a yard!) A tree, maybe. Not more than one.


    Sonia Lal @ Story Treasury

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    1. A flowering tree would be wonderful, don't you think? That's what I would want if I could only have one. :)

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  14. I grew up in Stratford, Connecticut. It wasn't big-city nor was it small-town. I guess the best you could call it was "Suburban Blight." Anyway, I loved the woods and still do. In fact, every year my brothers and I get together to go camping. Yes, beer is involved. But, we still enjoy being out doors. Especially far away from Stratford. Having to wear bullet-proof vests in the summer gets hot.

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    1. Your comments always have me rolling! Glad you're able to shed that bullet-proof vest from time to time. ;)

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  15. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and now live in a town with 1800 people. I love the pace here. I drive out of the suburbs, down the interstate, and feel a sense of peace when the landscape returns to cornfields. I do not miss living near the city one bit.

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    1. That's exactly what I miss! I'm glad you've found such peace. :)

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  16. I'm a small town girl. Except my town grew up faster than I did! So, moved to Sonoma County and now I have a woods (and wouldn't have been able to afford one had I stayed in Silicon Valley).

    I can so relate to the smell of mushrooms and the sounds of branches rubbing against themselves. Not to mention the birds! Without traffic noise, you can hear the birds!

    You are a wonderful writer. Love this post. I'm a new fan.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. :)

      If I wake up early enough, I'm lucky to hear a few birds, but soon the traffic and sirens overpower them.

      I envy you your woods!

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  17. When we first moved, I would have said I preferred to live in the city . . . but the country life is growing on me. Kind of :)

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  18. totally a small town girl. I love visiting cities - Boston, San Francisco, NYC, but not for long. I couldn't imagine not hearing the peepers in the spring and going for a walk in the woods whenever I like.

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  20. I grew up in a small town and couldn't wait to get out! I've been living in the city for over twelve years now and I do miss the peace and quiet from time to time... but I'd never be able to go back!

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    1. I know what you mean. I would want a little of each--the best of both worlds!

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  21. I love living in Los Angeles, but there are times I'm wistful for the quieter pace of Eugene. I didn't exactly grow up running around chickens, but it was much slower, mellower and more full of green. Oh, how I'm ready for a weekend back home!

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    1. We didn't have the chickens at our house, either--at least not when I was growing up--but my uncle down the road had horses and pigs, and someone near us had a rooster that crowed way too early each morning. (What a joy that was, especially in the summer!)

      Yes, the slower pace is something I miss. Things move too quickly here, and there never seems to be enough time to stop and "be."

      I hope you get to go home soon!

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  22. I'm a small town girl too, although I love the city as well. I think it helps me stay balanced to be able to be comfortable and enjoy myself everywhere. (Although I could do with less people in my business!) hehehe

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    1. Tell me about it! That's the one thing I really disliked about living in a small town.

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  23. We don't have ticks in Alaska, but we have a lot of mosquitoes. I have a hard time even visiting a big city for a long time--I need fresh air and lots of space. And trees. And mountains.

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    1. I agree: large cities do tend to feel a little claustrophobic sometimes.

      Thanks for your comment!

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  24. Sometimes I feel like that living on Oahu. It's a beautiful place, but so crowded. I'm used to flat rolling hills with nothing around for miles.

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    1. I think we all need just a little space to ourselves, at least sometimes. The crowded cities can get to be too much.

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  25. Oh I guess I like living in the suburbs...lol! I'm five minutes from downtown in a mid sized city. We have lots of parks and trees where I live so I have the best of both worlds. Now the beach and lakes and rivers...I miss those every day!
    Hugs~

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    1. Your life in the suburbs sounds ideal! That's what I want: the close proximity to a city and all it has to offer and the trees and woods and peace that I crave. :)

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