Kate Morton’s novels have a similar thread. There is always an element of the English countryside. In The Lake House, both Eleanor and Alice have a decided preference for the country estate, the Lake House, over their London residence. Both wild children with a penchant for faerie stories in the woods, they feel at peace in the country.
I was raised in the suburbs about half an hour’s drive from a major metropolitan city. We had quiet residential streets where we could ride our bikes, take the dogs for a walk, or meet up with other kids in the neighborhood. The houses were close together – not on top of each other like they are now – but close. The houses were also close to the little grid streets.
While it is hard for me to pass judgment on such a central facet of my childhood, ever since my husband and I have talked about it – over 10 years now – we’ve dreamed of the country. We’ve dreamed of a little space from neighbors, room to stretch out in, and the possibility of horses.
Likewise, we cringe every time we go into the city. There are some distinct benefits to city life which is why we venture there from time to time. The job opportunities and pay are better. There are more choices for anything and everything – more restaurants including vegan places that I can easily eat at, more clothes stores, fancy organic grocery stores, a decent farmer’s market, museums, etc.
Here’s the thing though. Generally speaking, I don’t want more. At least I don’t want more materialism, more consumerism, more ways to spend money. I want more land, more flowers, more sky. These are the things that put my heart at ease and make my soul soar.
So which are you? A country mouse or a city mouse?