Although this post may seem incongruous on the heels of my last post on how I appreciate quiet and space, today my mind wandered to idyllic images of the olden days of village life.
I know there still exists people who have taken root in the proximity of the place they grew up in, but I think most of us grew up and moved away. Those who stayed most likely experienced the exodus of friends or family.
I was one of those people who migrated away from my neighborhood. I had my reasons and have no regrets. But there are days when I wish I could walk to a friend or family member to visit for a while rather than have to plan an excursion that involves a train, plane or automobile.
It’s not just the journey itself. Distance changes the shape of the visit. It involves advance scheduling and, when you are the one being visited, the obligatory cleaning and food preparation. Because once you move away, what was once a quick stop for a chat and cup of coffee becomes an official visit. The roles change from friends or family to host and guest.
Then there are the people who live near the home of visitation. I use the word “near” loosely because some people think an adjacent state is near. Beware of the wrath of Aunt Sally if you visited Uncle Joe who only lives 400 miles away and you didn’t stop by to see her.
I grew up in a neighborhood where cousins lived across the alley, and other relatives were a bus ride away. Friends were within walking or biking distance. True, there’s a downside, but I miss the spontaneity of being able to see someone without having to rearrange my whole weekend. If the weather was nice, we could jump in the car and go to the beach or pitch in for an impromptu barbecue. Now, we have to set a future date and hope the weather cooperates.
Travel lovers may enjoy the dispersion of friends and family. Their journeys always take them to or near someone they know. Not so for a homebody like me. I do like my privacy, but today it would have been nice to have a familiar face knock on the door just to hang out for no particular reason.