We live in the suburbs. It’s what I know; it’s how I grew up, I just traded a midwestern one for a Canadian one.
Emily is currently working on her final 8th grade Geography project — it’s worth, like, 85% of her mark or equally obscene and she has been working all the livelong day and night on it (Shh…don’t tell her that she’s already been accepted into high school and probably should be ripsticking more and fretting about geo projects less). She had to design and build her own country — and think about urban, rural, and suburban living.
It got me wondering about this. The other options. Living downtown in the city. Living off the grid on a farm. Living in a foreign country. Living someplace near the ocean. And my absolute favorite dwelling fantasy—living in a small town like Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls. Like you never. There’s just something about the slow pace, the family-run businesses. There’s something about the lack of traffic and the lack of Starbucks. There’s something about the Pleasantville-esque idea that everyones knows your name, everyone waves high as you walk your dog past the gazebo on main street, under a sky blanketing with stars, no light pollution to block the view.
My mom moved to Lexington, Virginia two years ago to pursue a work offer she couldn’t refuse. There’s not much to Lexington. Two universities right beside each other — Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. A main street like you’d imagine — a coffee shop that doubles as a cheese shop, a homemade ice cream shop, a movie theater with three screens, not a stadium seat in the house. A beautiful city in the valleys of the blue ridge mountains full of deep and rich history. I mean, after all, Stonewall Jackson *and* Robert E. Lee lived and are buried there and you can even take the horse-and-buggy tour past both. The homes have big, sweeping porches and are full of stories and personality (and civil war ghosts). Everyone waves and smiles and wonders how your day is going and actually, truly wants to hear the answer.
It takes my breath away each time I visit.
It makes me stop in my tracks and wonder…WHAT IF?
On the Thursday, Emily and I wandered into our favourite store, Pumpkinseeds. We always each walk away with a dress and a great conversation. On Saturday, we walked over to VMI to watch their keydets baseball team play. We sat in the bleachers, surrounded by a sea of students in their dress whites, telling their college stories about girls and sports. On one morning, my mom and I walked over to her nursing home — the one she runs — to see a resident artist (she’s over 90!)’s showcase of her quilting. I heard stories about her quilts, how she makes them, where the inspiration comes from. And then I met her friends and heard their unbelievable life stories.
This small town is so big, really.
I just really wish it had a gazebo.