Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Growing up in a suburban city outside Vancouver, British Columbia, my life was so much different than what my kids have been exposed to living in rural Nova Scotia. I had sidewalks to walk to school on and everyone's lawns and gardens were manicured as if on display. If you had an acreage you were rich and everyone had a paved driveway. We walked or rode our bikes to elementary school as opposed to taking the school bus and there was transit to get you around town. You absolutely locked your door at night and there were street lights, so it was never completely dark.

For my kids, its the opposite. They have to take the bus to get to school. There are no sidewalks or street lights. If  you have an acerage, it didn't cost that much to buy it but if your driveway is paved, well then, you probably have a few extra bucks lying around. They have also grown up knowing that the night sky has an abundance of stars. I read in an article recently that in the country with no artificial light you can see, on average 2000 stars in the sky. In the city, you see around 12. Wow.

But one of the biggest differences I see for my children is that they are much more in touch with where their food comes from than I was as a child. Of course I knew vegetables grew on a farm, and cows gave us milk, but I didn't get to see it first hand. My kids know what it takes to grow food and raise food and they know it doesn't just come wrapped up in plastic from the grocery store. They also know the hard work that goes in to what appears on the supper table, especially seafood. Lobster season is approaching here in Yarmouth. The traps are being readied, and the fisherman/women are busy getting everything in to shape for the beginning of the season. It is a hard life. It is dangerous and it is cold.  And my children know that when dumping day arrives, half of the able bodied kids that are old enough will be absent from school, helping their Dad's, Mom's, Uncles and Aunts set the traps. ( Dumping day refers to when the Lobster Season opens and all the fishing boats "dump" their traps )

Living rurally and in a small town has many blessings and so many lessons. I'm so glad my children have an opportunity to experience life a little differently than where I grew up. Its not that I didn't like where I was raised, but it just didn't have that true Canadian experience. It felt a little priviledged and disconnected from real life. No one was a farmer where I grew up, nor was anyone a fisherman. Most of the kids I grew up with led a priviedged life. They didn't have to help out on the farm, or help Dad and Mom fish. Life was easy and that world for me felt like an unrealistic bubble. I'm a back to the land kind of person and I have no interest in living a suburban life. Great for some people, but a prison for me. Give me a starry night, a field of hay, a hoe and a shovel anyday over a sidewalk, a street lamp or traffic. I need my ATV and hiking boots and I would rather get muddy than have a spa treatment. And truly, I want my kids to know that life is hard sometimes, and you have to work a little to reap some benefits.
So when life goes on and my kids end up living in a high rise in a city somewhere when they are grown,I know they will never forget the lessons small town rural living gave them. They will know that you have to work hard to grow food, and you have to risk your life to put seafood on someone else's table. They will always know the taste of lobster fresh from the sea and they will be able to envision the fisherman's hands, chapped from the cold, as he hands them over. They will always remember the tast of a tomato fresh from the vine, and the smell of freshly mown hay. No matter where they go, or what they do, they will always appreciate those starry nights with thousands of stars twinkling above and darkness so dark, you can't see your hand in front of your face. And most importantly, they will remember what it feels like to listen and hear what it sounds like to have no sound at all. The silence of country life. What a wonderful thing indeed.

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