30 May 2007

I wonder if I could live here?

In today's NYTimes, there's an interesting 'editorial observer' item by Verlyn Klinkenborg. He's writing about a cross-country road trip and the thoughts that occupy his mind while speeding down the highway.

As he's driving past the farms and ranches, small towns and cities of middle America, he finds himself wondering, "Could I live here?" It's an interesting question, and he handles it well in his commentary.

I usually make a point of reading Klinkenborg's commentary, even though I often disagree with him. He's about my age; actually a little younger. He lived in Iowa for a while during his youth. He was born in Colorado, and he went to college in California. Now he lives on a small farm in
New York and writes for the New York Times.

Often, I object to his views on 'what's wrong with American agriculture' and what policies are needed to make it right. But even when I disagree with his observations and prescriptions, I find him to be thoughtful and sincere. I appreciate that and respect it, and I'm willing to make time
to read his work.

This column resonated for me because in my travels, I've found myself wondering the same thing. Like Klinkenborg, my answer to my self-posed question is 'yes,' yes I think I could live in many places I've traveled to.

I have a theory. I think that people who have made a dramatic move in their lives tend to be able to see themselves living somewhere else. I think that people who move from a rural community (like from Iowa to New York or from southern Minnesota to Minneapolis) can imagine it more easily than the reverse. I find that many city people cannot fathom living in a small town or on a farm.

It’s also true that many country people can’t fathom living in a city, and some, like Klinkenborg, opt to move back to the country.

My belief is that people who have lived in the country have experiences that promote a healthy balance between individualism and community. When you are alone in the country, you are challenged to stretch, to learn the limits of your abilities, and to grow. But the experience of confronting personal limits also promotes an appreciation for teamwork and joint efforts for mutual benefit. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. Strong individuals lend their talents to the community, and strong communities help individuals achieve goals that are beyond their individual abilities.

Maybe that’s why cooperatives are such a common feature in agriculture and rural communities.

Just a thought that I had. That’s all.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

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Feel free off course to comment as you wish and remember: don't take it wrong, don't think that this visitation I make was a matter of more audiences for my own blogg. No. It's a matter of making universal, realy universal, all this question of bloggs.

I think it's to UNITE MANKIND! Don't see language as an obstacle. That's not the point. Open your heart and come along!!!!!