Recently, I had a conversation with someone where the fact that I grew up on a farm came up.
“Argh, the country. ... I just don’t understand why someone would want to live out there,” this particular person said. “It is sooooooo dark and sooooo quiet. I feel like a scene from Capote’s 'In Cold Blood' is going to unveil.”
At this I had to smile and laugh. That’s how I feel while living in the city, except for the opposite reasons: It's not dark enough; there's too much noise, and I feel like I’m in Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Birds" with all the damn crows that live in Ames.
I’m more than just your average home-grown farm kid. I’m not one of those “yee-haws” that never got off of the farm. I went to a 1A school and a 4A school. I have lived in Ames off and on and I spent the fall semester of my sophomore year in London, one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of nearly 12.9 million people. My verdict? Living in town does not measure up to the country.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the city and what it has to offer. After graduation I thought I’d move to the Big Apple for a job since that is where most of the good jobs were for my degree. What I didn’t realize is that growing up out on the farm affects you more than you think. After a semester in the largely populated city of London, I learned that the country runs through my blood.
Unlike the person who described being terrified by being so far away from society the one night spent in the country, I am more terrified in town with my neighbors across the hall than I do all by my lonesome out on our family farm. I’d rather walk alone on my gravel road in the pitch black dark than walk on a busy street with lights in Ames — Although I will say one time a raccoon who also went for a midnight stroll turned my midnight walk into a run.
Maybe it’s not better, but it takes a certain kind of person to live on their own in “the middle of nowhere.” Certain talents are needed such as entertaining yourself and being able to rely on only yourself most of the time.
I find that I am more independent than my city counterparts. If something needs to be done, then I go ahead and do it whether I want to or not because of growing up on the farm.
Maybe you don’t feel like getting up in the morning with the dew still on the grass to feed the cows, or combining into the wee hours of the night, but no one else is going to pick up the slack for you and most won’t complain about it either like the city folk do.
There are challenges and things that are undesirable with both types of living situations, it just depends on what you want to deal with.
For instance, smells.
I would rather deal with the smell of manure, or what a lot of country folk like to refer to as “the smell of money” than of the stench from plants like Des Moines is currently upset about.
In London, the noise never stopped. Ever. It did get quieter, but I still heard the trash truck come by while in my sleep — and every night in my sleepy daze thought it was my dad coming into the drive back home with the combine.
Never was there a time of pure darkness. Stars? Nope. Forget ‘em. Oddly enough, to avoid my crowded street after class in London at night, I would go on this poorly lit street, with not anything but a couple of local bars with a few locals and business professionals still in their ties and heels having a beer after work. I didn’t realize how dark it was until some fellow ISU students were walking with me. They were terrified someone was going to jump out from the shadows. I didn’t get that feeling. It was quiet, less people, and gave me a chance to gather my thoughts.
Both options have their own pros and cons and although I’m giving my shout-out to my fellow country folk, I know that it also takes a certain type of person to love the city life. For me, being in the city all day is fine with me, but when the day is done, the country road will take me home — and like the song, that is the place where I belong.