City life just isn’t for me

I’m back in the city again, waiting for grandson #2 to arrive.
It’s an exciting time, for sure. Yet I want him to stay put for just a few more days until we wrestle all the items off the “to do” list.
But the truth is, no one ever is completely ready for a first baby to arrive. The thoughts of will I survive labour, and do I know how to be a good mother and will he be okay, all swirl around and tend to occupy every cell of the brain.
Though I should be considered an expert having gone through this process four times, I think the gap of time between then and now has erased my base of knowledge and I start worrying right along with Samantha.
Except for the part of whether she will be a good mother or not. She will be—even in those hours when fatigue and lack of sleep convince her she’s not.
While I wait for baby, I try to start my days with a walk, just a short jaunt around the neighbourhood to get the cobwebs out of my brain and to make a mental plan for the day.
I watch the faces that I pass on the street and despite my morning smile and a friendly greeting, no one returns a smile or says a word. The faces are strained, suspicious, defensive, and distrustful; faces turned down.
I can’t help wondering how on earth we will ever turn things around. How we will recover from where we are now, socially speaking, and how cities will ever feel like a safe place to be.
My grandson won’t have to grow up in Toronto, thank goodness. He will live a good distance from the crowds, from the disconnect, from the I-must-always-hurry mentality.
The mentality that has drivers honking their horns at every hesitation from the driver in front, honking at every slip-up, as if every second behind the wheel becomes a day on the battlefield.
It’s madness; maybe not for everyone but certainly for me.
Cities are fuelled by consumerism. Massive stores at every turn where you can buy new stuff, better stuff, just throw your old stuff away, as though shopping and spending and consuming is our only purpose on Earth.
As we hurry to get all the stuff that will make life better, we have few, if any, moments to pause and ponder the greater meaning; few, if any, moments to consider the needs of our neighbours; few, if any, moments to stand on the soil and consider how we keep the greatest resource on Earth healthy.
Everything around the residents of cities is covered in pavement and concrete and steel. The green spaces are shrinking and vanishing, and the waterways invisible or non-existent—and it is frightening.
Out my back door in Nova Scotia, the mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy surge in and out. Meanwhile, a brook bubbles over the rocks and down the hill beside our house and the sound is mesmerizing, hypnotic, relaxing, and healing.
The pileated woodpeckers drum away at dead trees and call out with their jungle voices. Bald eagles and golden eagles soar overhead as a regular sight, becoming ordinary while still being magnificent.
Fort Frances and her beautiful waterways, as well as plentiful forests and natural habitats, are a resource worth clinging to; worth admiring and respecting.
It must be incredibly difficult to think about our natural habitats when we are driving an hour to work and home; where we spend much of our day hurrying behind the wheel of our car or on public transit.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m so very grateful I had the opportunity to grow up on a farm; on a farm just outside of Fort Frances.
wendistewart@live.ca

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