I had totally forgotten what a pleasure it is to be able to walk everywhere. When I lived in California, I was blocks away from shopping, dining, and the ocean, and it allowed me to live without a car for a few years. Everything I needed was a walk away or at most, a bus ride away. I took great pleasure in moving slowly enough to see the world go by as I moved through it – the people, the animals, the changing of leaves, the sounds – it was amazing. Then I moved, and I forgot all about it. My move brought me to the country and had to buy a car as I lived 7 miles away from town on roads that were often deeper than a mud bog, randomly requiring 4 wheel drive to even go to the end of my street. I lived out in the open, surrounded by a ton of open space which let me live simply, but one thing I definitely missed was the “life” I had gotten so used to watching on a daily basis. Whenever I needed to go anywhere I got in my car and missed out on moving slowly through life on foot, and after 6 days in Denver I have to say that I am glad to be back in the city.
I loved living in the country, and there is a lot I will miss about the peace and quiet and solitude. But because I had to use a car to get around, I missed out on a lot around me outside of my yard. I went speeding by the trees changing color, the guy on a bike, the family sitting in the park – I only had an interaction with these things in passing. But being back on foot has allowed me to rediscover walking on a daily basis to go to the grocery store, get something eat, pick up some dry cleaning or meet some friends for coffee. There is definitely something to be said for getting out of our cars and spending time “on the street”.
Is it a simpler life on foot in the city or in a car in the country? Not really sure…it’s just different. They both have their pluses and minuses. But I will say that being back on foot to do most anything is a fantastic way to see the world and experience it in a much more “real” way than being in car allows you to do. So in that way, I feel more connected in this busy metropolitan area than I did in the country. I feel more grounded, more in touch with how other people are doing, and like I am doing my part by staying out of my car.
But I sure do miss those dark skies and quiet nights…