There was something about being out in the country. It was so much more relaxing and laid back. Out here you never felt the need to rush. People always seemed to be friendlier and more trusting of others. For Martin being out here made him feel calm. After three years he was finally going home.
Cruising down the roughly blacktopped roads, he remembered when he first started driving. City kids never understood why having a car was such a big deal for country kids. A car meant freedom. There were no buses or subways out here and walking to a friend’s house could mean a six kilometer hike through scrubby woods and acres of corn.
Like anything else there were some good things and some bad things about rural living. When your closest neighbor lived a kilometer and a half away, you always had your privacy. And there were no attached or semi-attached homes out here. If you didn’t cut your grass to a certain height no neighborhood watch or committee was going to come out and issue you a warning. Admittedly, sometimes people couldn’t help feeling a little isolated and lonely here in the country. Growing up and having only your siblings to play with wasn’t always the greatest thing either. And city people had no clue what real chores actually were.
Yeah, there were mosquitoes and everyone had either a truck, a dog or a gun and often all three, but being able to see the stars on a clear night made up for a lot. Breathing was easier and there was always that hint of pine in the air. Snowplows always worked the city roads first and so country children had way more snow days in the winter and lots more snow to play in, for that matter.
It had been so long since Martin had seen his family and as wonderful as it was to call, text and Skype with them, nothing could compare with seeing them face to face. His family always stayed in touch and news of what was happening with one of them quickly spread along the grapevine. They called to console, the texted to celebrate and they talked just because. They weren’t the most expressive family, but everyone knew that they would always be supported and that they were unconditionally loved. Also advice was completely unavoidable, especially when you didn’t want it.
Driving down the highway, he turned off onto a tree-lined road and slowly crested a hill. All around him as far as he could see there was farmland. Rows of soya beans, corn and wheat rolled gently below and the wind swept lazily through it all. County road eighteen had always been the scenic route he took whenever he came home. It just seemed to encompass everything that was missing from his urban lifestyle. He loved his job, his hybrid car, the ability to call for take-out and delivery from any restaurant even at three in the morning, but nothing could ever compare to this feeling of going home.
In his mind, country grass was always greener, rural air was always fresher and frozen homemade chocolate chip cookies were the food of the gods. Sure, out here people were often less than politically correct, the internet was still dial-up and every trend was at least three years old, but you couldn’t have a campfire in Toronto. People in Toronto would never use their front or side lawns for extra parking space. You couldn’t buy fresh, “organically grown” produce from the back of a wagon. And you would never be able to find chlorine-free water to swim in.
Toronto and Martin’s life was a two hour drive away from his parents’ home, but the truth was that he never felt so alive as when he was back home sitting on a porch, drinking a beer and talking to his family.
God, it was good to be home.
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