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A longing for home

April 7, 2013 - Carrie Olson
I miss it.

Going to be honest here, I miss the quiet of rural life. The sound of song birds in the morning and of crickets chirping at dusk. Perhaps the rustle of the wind in the leaves will grace your presence. And the smell. The heavenly smell of wet grass, mulberry bushes, and of fresh dirt. God, I miss it. Friendly faces of people you have known your whole life, and even knowing the fact that going to a Dairy Queen for an afternoon frozen treat is a big deal. Seeing the stars at night in a clear farm sky - feeling so small in such an infinite space out on a dirt road, it can make you weep in such beauty. I want to sit in my local library, curl up in one of their beautiful chairs while being illuminated by the green glow of the lamp beside me. Sit in a coffee shop and hear only quiet – sipping slowly on a freshly brewed beverage.

Big city life is overwhelming. It’s exhilarating, beautiful, and still so new. Getting off the subway, the street aromas can be invigorating and disgusting all at once. You are suddenly hungry for sweetened cashews and a loaded gyro. The steam heat will hit you from the grates below, as the stink of urine and the sound of street performers provide a sensory overload. People ask for money, to take their flyer – while you bump into people coming from each and every direction. Most of the time, I still find it a thrilling part of being in the city; while at other times, I just want to find a place to hide. I can’t go in a library without sitting next to tons of other people. And with everyone piled into a Starbucks to try to get an internet connection, I’d rather walk with my coffee and try to chug it along the way.

Yesterday, we escaped to the suburbs. To a 12-plex movie theater with a Wendy’s restaurant nearby. I marveled at the size of the parking lot, of people driving their cars from their homes. I happily exclaimed that the inside of the movie theater reminded me of one in a college town in the Midwest. And when we finally hit the fast-food chain, I couldn’t contain my happiness. The dollar menu meal – a cheeseburger deluxe, small chili, and chocolate frosty – was a thrill indeed. I looked out the window and could imagine that I was looking out at Omaha or Ames. We would be driving home soon, I thought. Instead, we headed on the Light Rail back to our apartment across from the New York City skyline. There is no car parked outside, and no set time to come back and visit the places I imagine daily.

To be that excited by a strip mall - in the back of my head it's laughable. In the front, I wonder when I came plan my next trip back there.

For most of my teenage years and after, I have dreamed of living big – of a glittery expanse of city life. Me and my fellow cohorts would lament the lack of options due to our small town living - no concert venues or shopping malls for miles. There is something better out there for us, we'd say. Someplace we could actually belong.

Now, I dream of something different. I long for that little town that I have always called home and of the simplicity that I have come to appreciate ever so much more.


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