I'm a country boy at heart. But I choose to live in the city, even though I'm a bit saddened anytime I walk late at night and look in vain for the Milky Way, washed out of the night sky by the brightness of the city.
There are some obvious reasons I live in the city. It's where the jobs are, for one thing, and since I really don't much like commuting in a car, the city is the logical place to live. My bride is now a city girl, and she'd be truly unhappy living out in the sticks, as I once did. There are more important reasons though for my choice of domiciles.
In the last week, I have had the following evening excursions:
* A picnic supper at the Lake Harriet bandshell, where a string trio played folk ballads while beautifl sail boats passed by the open vista behind the bandshell.
* A bike ride around lake Calhoun, with a stop at the Peace Garden & Lydale Rose Garden, where an improv comedy troupe was giving a free performance.
* Dinner at a nearby Mongolian restaurant within walking distance, followed by a walk around yet another city lake, this one landscaped with a variety of garden styles. Elderly gentlemen entertained us by describing how they built the elaborate model boats they were sailing on the Centential Lakes pond.
* Went to the Minnesota Zoo, where a fabulous new exhibit of Kodiak Bears entertained us for an hour, just before outdoor concert in the zoo's amphitheater.
* Watched the Twins beat the hated Yankees at the stadium that is a mere 5 miles from my house.
* Last night, we drove to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for an ice cream social event held for the members (we've belonged for 30 years now). The Arboretum is a true world-class public garden, and we arrived at 7:00 pm, just after a brief thunderstorm dampened everything and ignited the gardens in glistening crystal light. In the far distance, towering bluish grey thunderheads moved off, now touched with salmon and pink light from the setting sun.
Most of these excursions were within 15 minutes of home, and several required no car trip at all.
None of these things are really possible if you live in rural areas. A couple of times we drove through suburbs to get to our outings, and I"m frankly a bit mystified by the suburban experience. Though originally intended to mimic the look of genteel rural life, the suburbs offer me nothing of any appeal. In no way does life there really resemble life in the country, and it's also missing all the advantages of the city. No charm, no culture and high gas prices to boot.
I'm a country boy at heart.
But if that's not practical, give me sidewalks to stroll late at night, and interesting restaurants to find, and parks, and gardens, and museums and ball parks any day of the week.