Sunday, February 27, 2005

There’s nothing to do here

I grew up in rural North Dakota. Dickey County. Not the end of the earth; but if everyone in our county were spread equally apart we would have been spaced about a quarter mile from every other resident of the county. 128 acres per person. Not exactly high density population. People who live there today might say there is nothing to do.

In contrast, today I live in a county (Kane) with a density about two people per acre. Spacing of that population equally spread apart would be about 100 feet apart. In Northeastern Illinois we are considered a “Rural” county. Saving the remaining undeveloped farmland is a big deal. There’s a lot for people to do. All of it costs money. All of it is organized. All of it is contrived.

In this dense population play is without spontaneity. Kids don’t play outside. They are on soccer teams. They have play dates. Tumbling is done inside. Fishing is a team sport. No one just gets together and just plays anymore.

Natural things are off limits. The capacity to go for a walk or a drive in the country and experience some level of solitude is lost.

If you live in a rural area as I grew up in treasure the benefits of what you have now. Everything in life is a trade-off.