Reflections of a Ruralness

Mid-semester break could not have come at a better time.  Not only had I missed my family and needed to replace my summer clothes with sweaters and mittens, I was able to apply what I have been learning in Brit Lit.  In my class, we have read a variety of poems from the Romantic Period by authors such as Coleridge, Blake, and Wordsworth.  The ideas that we discussed about the period literature are it focuses on the individual’s stream of consciousness and the relationship the individual can have with nature.  At home, while my Dad and I were driving to Salem to check out the Halloween festivities he asked me what I was learning about in my classes and I brought up Brit Lit.  “Do you know what the Romantic Period is,” I asked.  “What like Romeo and Juliet, right!”  He replied in his strong Boston accent.  I miss his accent.  “No,” I laughed, “it’s not like love romance.”  I proceeded to tell him about some of the themes of childhood memories and rejection of factories and urbanization.  As we drove along the city streets, I noticed the lights and the shops and restaurants and how close the houses sat together and how people walked in groups.  I realized that I miss looking out the window and watching the rest of the world as my dad is drives along.  I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if I lived in a city, like Boston, which is just a short car ride from my home town.  I often feel confined when the only place I can walk to is to my town library and I wonder what it would be like to have a destination on my long runs, instead of just making a loop through wooded neighborhoods.  Sometimes when I think of the city I glamorize it and convince myself that people in the city are supposed to feel less lonely because they are surrounded by people.  Part of me knows this is false, that people are lonely everywhere.  Part of me knows exactly what the Romanticists are talking about when they describe their admiration for nature and individuality because I am reminded of sledding or ice skating alone in my backyard with just the swinging of the trees and the falling of light snow.  I take my rural setting for granted, at home and at SLU.  It seems that every time I go into the city, I enjoy myself and envy the people living there, but after a day I know I would never want to live there because I’d be giving too much up.  I often overlook what rural places don’t have until I go into the city and realize what is missing.  Most of what is missing is my emotional attachment to the memories I have of fireplaces crackling, deer jumping, owls hooting, crickets playing, stars shining, ‘smores roasting, and snow crystals falling.  I think that’s why the Romantic Period resonates with me and why I understand their themes personally.  As much as I despise it sometimes, I am thankful for the rural environment of Canton, which reminds me of home.

– Courtney G.

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