Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN by Victoria Chatham

I’ve been fortunate, or unfortunate, depending on your point of view, to have lived in many places from an Welsh villages, to English towns. As an army family we were constantly on the move when I was a child, mostly finding that the moment we caught up with my father he was posted on – again. My most settled period was when my children were small I spent twelve whole years in one place.

For the last nearly two years I’ve been living in a small Alberta town and have to say I’m loving it. Oh, there’s times when I miss the amenities of Calgary city life, especially the ease of meeting friends for coffee or supper or go off to the movies on a whim. 

What I don’t miss is the rush and noise and especially the traffic. No, my current home suits me very well.
The train track runs through the middle of town, the trains themselves announce their approach with a long, wailing horn as evocative a sound as loons on a lake at twilight. However, there are times, depending on the weather conditions when that train sounds as if it is coming right through the house. The rumble of the wheels on the tracks echoes through the evening only to be blown away by the constant wind. And that wind takes some getting used to.

Trees line both the main and side streets with their well-maintained older homes. Traffic is at a minimum. The most I have seen at one time is eight cars at the four-way stop. Voila! Rush hour. Even my go-faster foot seems to have slowed down by its own volition and keeping within the speed limit is now no longer a problem. I am no longer in a rush to get anywhere. I like that I can walk where I want to without the crush of pedestrians around me. I like the space and time I have to think while I walk, which inevitably leads to more rounds of writing when I get home.

I like that I have been here long enough to get to know some of the residents. It's a pleasure to stop and take the time for a real conversation whether it's with the lady who operates the candy store or the staff in the local Co-op or the florists.

I like supporting local businesses who don't charge an arm and a leg for the services they provide. I like be and I love the humor to be found, especially the sign in one shop window: DOORBELL BROKEN. YELL DINGDONG REALLY LOUD.

I’m thankful for a clear sky and far-seeing view. I’m thankful for my peaceful surroundings and the opportunity to become, for a while, a human being rather than a human doing.

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