Growing up in the Catskill Mountains, I rarely understood just how lucky I was. I took for granted the beauty, peace, clean air, and no traffic. As a teenager, I, of course, focused on all the negative things. ‘The mall is so far away.’ ‘There’s nothing to do around here.’ Those were my typical complaints.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an outdoorsy person; and even though I grew up skiing – I didn’t really like it. Sometimes, I would go for walks in the woods or snowshoeing; but then I would complain about living on such a steep hill. I had to walk my bike up the road because it was too darn steep!
Also, we didn’t have any neighbor kids to play with. In fact, we lived on a dead end. The only people that lived in the other houses on the road were weekenders; and they didn’t have any kids my age. My mom would have to lock my brother and me outside just so we could get fresh air.
I remember one time it was raining so we put on our raincoats, and pretended they were capes allowing us to fly. Or the other time my brother locked me outside the house, and I had to call my parents from the car phone in the van in the driveway.
When I moved to college in Rochester, I quickly adapted to the amenities nearby. I loved that the movie theater was just down the road. I loved that I could go downtown to the coffee shop where they had live music. And I loved that the mall was so close!
After college, I went on to live in various cities around the country. This has made me appreciate just how special the small mountain town I grew up in really is. Though I would not want to move back permanently (because of the whole job situation and many other reasons), I like going to visit. It’s odd – time seems to stop when I am there – the rest of the world can’t touch me. That can be very relaxing…once in a while.
Going to the mountains is, definitely, a retreat. I enjoy the fresh air, wide open space, little to no traffic, and the feeling of rejuvenation I get while I’m there. It’s ‘nice and peaceful’, as my mom likes to say. I was born and raised in the country, but I’m a city girl now. I am happy to visit and happy to go home – where the mall is only a few minutes away…
Are you a country person or a city person?