Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To The Bark Or To The Brick

There are two magnetic pulls in this world. One towards the country. And one towards the city. I came to this conclusion after a conversation with a coworker of mine. I tried to explain to her why I will always feel more comfortable in the city, but I left that little talk feeling like I hadn't explained myself well enough.

People are constantly drawn to things. Some people are drawn to a tune they hear off in the distance. Some are drawn to a light they see far off at the horizon. But the two things that draw the most people is the country and the city. Both of them pull people in in different ways too.

Like for me the country pulls people in with the promise of serenity. This idea that people are returning back to their roots, the primal surroundings of their ancestors. There's a certain level of peace in the woods or the country side. It's this strange silence that isn't silence at all. I've heard some people describe it as being able to hear the earth itself moving underneath you. Then on the less new-age side of the spectrum I've heard a lot of people simply say it's just pretty. I can agree to all of that. In a way I enjoy all of that myself. But I think my relationship with the country is much more like being a loose familiarity with each other. I take my treks into the woods from time to time. I've been known to enjoy a stream or river. I've taken my fair share of pictures of early morning dew covered fields. But that's it. Anything longer than a passing through and I loose my comfort, I find myself growing restless and I begin to see negatives all around me. So then I know it's time for me to move on.

I think you can probably tell where I'm going with this, but the other major pull in this world is the city. Now the way I see it, the city does this in a very unique way. It pulls in people with the promise of pulling in more. A city is nothing without people. Sure the buildings are magnificent, but they would not be there without people. Really, a city is simply a testament to everything a human being can accomplish. A city is like a trophy, for a grand competition between a person and their limits. For me, when I realized this I noticed a different kind of air in cities. Perhaps it's just the carbon monoxide, but I'd like to believe that the air I'm noticing is created by a single consensus by everyone around me that they recognize that in a small way they have created everything around them. A certain level of pride I'd say. But it's not an idle pride. It's very much alive, it almost forces people to seek out experiences, to create situations in their own life and those around them that force people to engage in something perhaps they don't understand. It's like walking down the street and coming to an intersection. You wait with a group of people you don't know, and you wait until the light changes. Then it finally switches and you all walk, together, all with the same destination, even if that destination is as mundane as simply being across the street, and just like that you have a connection. You've experienced what it's like to develop a connection with other people. Like I said, even if it's an incredibly mundane thing, in a small way you've just injected yourself into the human race. Connections like this form constantly in a city, and for me that's where the magnetism comes from. This idea that every moment, you're connecting with other people over and over again, like thousands of batteries arcing off each other, that's what pulls me into a city. Whenever I find myself in the city I can't help but watch all of this happening. The invisible pride of the people, the urge to move through the streets and buildings, the tiny sparks that errupt without anyone else noticing, if you pay enough attention to it, it's almost like watching fireworks.

Now don't get me wrong, if you are a country person, I don't think any less of you. In fact I'm envious of you, because you obviously see something out there in nature that I just haven't been able to see, and I'd like to. But I can see those invisible things inside a city, and that is what pulls me there.

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