I believe that age makes you rethink, rearrange, and reset your priorities. I remember as a child, and as a young man, that those of us who lived in city, had a certain distain for those country folks. We called them bushies, thought they were slow and lacked the sophistication of city folks. It was kind of demeaning to come from the villages, and in many cases your background was made fun of. I don’t think that still goes on. I think we’ve all grown up and just see each other as just plain humans.
I used to spend my summers as a child in Crooked Tree, where my parents were from. I spent my formative years in San Estevan. I learned to swim, to ride a horse, to fish, to milk cows, to paddle a dory. I learned about trees, different plants, birds, about nature, in those 2 villages. Life lessons which would remain deeply ingrained in my being forever. I would notice that country people loved country music, were much more neighborly, giving a helping hand whenever they could, quiet, humble, and again, in touch with nature. Oh! And they loved their religion! There was no electricity back then, so the skies were a marvel at night, a theatre of stars and planets, comets flying by. The universe in all its majesty! It was so peaceful, so awe-inspiring. These people grew their own food, reared their own animals, would only go to the shop to buy kerosene or butter, cheese as a delicacy, but everything else came from the earth, from their plots or plantations. And the silence, amidst the mooing, and the braying, and birdsong, was a treat.
The city, hustle and bustle, exciting! Traffic and honking horns, the streets teeming with people, strangers, rude and pushy. Houses so close to each other you could smell your neighbors’ food cooking and listen to all their business. So many distractions, parties, movies, festivals, congestion! Like I said, exciting! Crime and other inconveniences were a small price to pay for living where the action was. Me, live dah bush? No way!
Now that we are older, many of us long for that bush life. The slower pace, the tranquility, and all the natural wonders that living in the country, dah bush, offers. Instead of faces being lined with the creases of bitterness and stress, from urban living, they are lined with contentment, for those rural folks, they see into the life of things, as they really are. There’s time to do all that. Slower pace. I would love to get up in the morning, go to my Chaya or okra tree or plant, then go to the chicken coop and pick up a few fresh eggs (nothing tastes better than fresh eggs), have some cow’s milk, and enjoy my breakfast! Oh, for the country life, the simple life.
Living long enough will make you write and think like this. Wax nostalgic and keep on dreaming.
“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homewards plods his weary way;
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.”
“Elegy in a country churchyard”, by Thomas Grey.