When you spend most of your life living in the country there are things you come to truly love about it. Six months ago unfortunatley I had to move away from a place I spent the best part of twenty years falling in love with.
No matter how exciting city life may seem, it will still never compare. Sure the city is ‘alive’ it’s busy, it’s convenient, but it doesn’t have the charm or warmth you come to associate with the countryside. There are certain things that only people who live, or have lived in the country will understand and relate to. So I said I’d compile a list, as ya do 🙂
We’ll start with:
‘The Country Nod’
Ah the aul courtesy ‘country nod’ you’re taking a stroll down the lane and you pass a car, tractor, van whatever. You may or may not know one another, regardless you will both engage in the country nod. One of you will usually begin the exchange by nodding your head and smiling slightly in mutual acknowledgement. If you’re wearing some sort of cap it is also customary to casually salute it. If you’re not a farmer/old man an imaginary cap will also suffice.
Everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business
Had tea and toast for breakfast? Mary knows about it. Fell in the back door at an ungodly hour in an absolute drunken mess last night? Mary knows about it. Forgot to feed your dog? Mary knows about it. The country is made up of a cluster of small towns and villages, and basically you can’t do anything without the nosey neighbours knowing. It can be annoying having everyone know, or think they know about your business, but it’s just an accepted trait. Everyone is guilty of being a small town gossip. Sure we’re only concerned after all. On a serious note though, you just don’t get that real sense of community and togetherness in the city . People take a genuine interest in you. Your dog dies out in bally-go-backwards and Mary and all the neighbours have the kettle on straight away. In the city? You’re lucky if people even know your name let alone if your dog died.
The scenery and views
Green grass, leafy trees, blue skies. It’s just perfect. Everything is out in the open and it’s impossible not to appreciate it. Actually getting to see a starry night. I have friends who grew up in the city and have never seen a sky full of stars, that just seems crazy to me. Growing up right near a golf course and these views? How could you not love it.
Granted it’s probably silage, but it’s a unique country smell. Outsiders turn their nose up at it, but we basque in the smell of clean air, freshly cut grass and nature.
Was there anything more delightful than running into a field and hopping the bales as a kid? Needless to say you were the thorn in every farmers backside, but nothing could stop the inticing lure of a well wrapped bail. Our parents couldn’t get us out of the fields during bale season and we loved it.
There is so much land, forrest and cool places just waiting to be discovered out in the country. I remember setting off on long walks for the day with my sisters and cousins just looking for devilment. Timeless. If it didn’t end in us getting a few lashes of the wooden spoon for going off the radar for a few hours, It ended in us finding some pretty deadly hiding places for the next epic round of hide & seek.
Being Identified by your relations/ mistaken for your siblings
“Which one are you now? Oh you’re Mary’s young one! Christ look at ya now, getting big ya are”
Spending endless evenings hanging around the same place
Everyone who lives in a small country town has their own distinct creepage spots. This is where the youth of the town/village will just meet to waste away together. Centra car park anyone? Mill in kells.. Mullinavat waterfall.. I could go on.
Similarly knowing all the shifting spots
All I have to say on this one is primary school oil tank. You stay classy ballyhale.
The best camping spots are in the country, no question. Staying up all night around a badly lit fire and a poorly picthed tent, drinking like the little scumbag you were. Ah the memories.
The sense of Freedom
For some reason there is just a sense of freedom that comes with living in the country. For me it was speeding down the hill on my bike, feeling like nothing or no one could stop me. The feeling of clean air in your lungs and wind through your hair is something else.
Having family living close by
It might not be this way for everyone, but for me I was surrounded by family. I grew up living right beside my grandparents, my aunts and uncles literally lived up (or down) the road and everyone was only a stones throw away. There’s something so lovely about knowing the people you care about are literally on your doorstep. These days that’s something which is becoming less and less frequent, and it’s sad to see.
When you move to the city you really come to appreciate life without sirens, noisy cars and the general sounds of hustle and bustle. There is nothing like the quiet dead of night you get out in the country, I think that’s something I miss the most.
No matter where I end up in life, no place will ever compare to the place I spent twenty years in, the place I grew up in, and the place I called home. It’s not only home to family and close friends, it’s home to some of my fondest memories. It’s the place where I took my first steps. It’s the place where I countlessly scraped my knees. It’s the place where I learned to ride my first bike. It’s the place where I broke my wrist. It’s the place where I played hide and seek. It’s the place that I explored from top to bottom.
It’s my place, and I will never stop missing it.
You know what they say, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. 😉