One of the things I love most about ranching is the wide, open spaces. Life on a farm is very different from life in the city, and while both have their benefits and drawbacks, I know that living in a (usually ambient) rural setting is what’s best for me and my family.
I did give city life the old college try (literally) when I lived in Saskatoon for four years during university. I also lived in other urban locations for a handful of summer jobs along the way. The centers I occupied as I worked during the summer ranged in size from 17,000 city occupants down to approximately 100 urban dwellers – give or take a few.
Urban life does have a few benefits including access to a diverse variety of restaurants, activities, shopping centres, cultures, and events that my quiet home quarter simply does not offer. On the flip side, absolutely every time I left my city apartment, I usually spent some money somewhere. One thing the city does offer is access to reliable high speed internet. As a rural business owner and contract project manager, I actually can’t think of a drawback to this one. In fact usually a few times a year I become a temporary urban resident as I lurk in a library, Tim Horton’s, or nearby school parking lot that may offer free Wi-Fi. A girl needs to update her devices every so often and I require such highfalutin internet connections in order to maintain my ability to do business from my internet-deficient location. But I digress.
Once in a while, I do have a moment of longing to window shop on Broadway or order a very fancy coffee or have a picnic down by the river in a beautifully manicured park. However that moment is fleeting. When I get to a city and I hear the noise, see the traffic, and encounter one person after another who avoids eye contact with me, doesn’t return my smile, or doesn’t hold a door open for me after I’ve extended the same courtesy to them, I’m quickly reminded that I don’t belong there. And I don’t really want to belong there. Forget about having a quiet dinner in a new downtown restaurant or pub, I want to order from the same menu I always do and talk about the price of corral panels, replacement heifers or canola with my neighbours at the next table like a normal human being.
But that’s just me. I don’t expect anyone to understand why I love to live the way I do and I shouldn’t. I also realize that I have to share some of the benefits that the city can offer to my kids so they can be somewhat adaptable and open-minded if and when they encounter city life themselves.
I was able to do just that with my youngest daughter recently. We had a day in the city with a few hours to spare and we made the most of it. We sauntered through a beautiful museum (and only set the You’re Standing Too Close to the Display Alarm off once!). We visited a park and explored the…er, “wildlife” that the park had to offer (dodging geese and associated dung along the way). We went shopping. We indulged in a fancy smoothie as we walked downtown.
As we made our way back to the truck (quick question, how come parking spaces are so teeny?!) I said to her, “You know, we are really lucky we live where we live.” She beamed up at me and said “Yeppers! Nobody lives by us!” Then she paused for a minute and added “except for bales. Lots of bales.” I think she summed it up nicely.
The city can be a nice place to visit, but I’m so glad I live where I live.