Country Snow

Day 352 Week 52 Q4  Sunday, December 18, 2022

Country snow is really different than city snow. This may be obvious, but how many times when you were driving in a big city during the day have you wanted to simply pull over and look out the window? Oh, wait, that’s right, people in big cities usually do not drive. As bandwidth becomes more ubiquitous, more and more creative outliers find they have the potential to work in rural areas. 

Some of the differences are immediately apparent, like houses cost less than apartments. Entertainment, socializing and working options are greatly diminished, which may be the main reason it costs less to live in the boonies. Others are less obvious like when the leaves change colors during the fall, it is immediately apparent that in the country, people are the minority, and trees are the majority. And in the winter, when the leaves have already fallen from the trees,  the shape of the land and the black ribbons of small rivers and streams become much more visible. In other words, there is a landscape, not a cityscape and not only is it more seasonably varied and beautiful, but the country is a lot more car-friendly than the city, so you can actually go out and explore it easily. This is why I find myself stopping driving in the middle of a road after snow as we had in the last few days. 

First of all, no one will beep their horn because there is no one behind you. Not only is parking easier, but you can stop almost anywhere and look around, a feeling I rarely have in cities even though I was born in NY.  Living in a car-centric natural environment trades the hectic opportunities of the city for the unhurried gestation of the country.  This can matter a lot if you are a creative outlier, especially at the end of the year in the northern climes, where the snow sticks around for weeks and does not turn black. It is a far more inspiring place for me personally to be in terms of creativity. Now you may have to come back to cities to be able to share what you created, but the actual creating part can be much easier in less peopled environments. 

Sure there are plenty of inherent disadvantages like most emergency responders are volunteers, which means it takes a lot longer for a firetruck or ambulance to show up, there may not be mail deliveries, your water comes from a well, your heating oil or gas has to be delivered, and you may need to bring your garbage to the dump personally. 

I would summarize by saying in an average year; there may be more crises but many fewer distractions because, most of the time, there is not a crisis. But in terms of creative processes, having fewer interruptions, less noise and no neighbors combined with far more work and living space and spending zero time spent looking for parking or waiting for a train, bus and Uber result in much less overhead to be creative.

Of course, this is obvious as many creative types have always spent time away from cities to create. The difference is now we live in a hybrid world which sometimes is in person and sometimes is online, and that potentially radically changes the ratio of city time to country time so much that some of us now live in nature and visit culture instead of the other way around. And for those of us lucky enough to live in a rural cultural mecca, this is glorious. 

Increasingly culture is spreading out and is no longer confined to high-population-density neighborhoods. When you can get nature and culture in the same place for significantly less cash and hassle, it is hugely motivating and supportive of creative outliers and their workflow processes.