Country mouse is not a city mouse.

For the past two days I’ve had to attend a professional conference in our capital city, Lansing.

Now, Lansing is hardly a booming metropolis, but it’s a lot bigger than the little town where I live and the little town where I work, both of which are rather rural.

I grew up from age 13 to 18 in Caledonia, which was farm country back then.  Moving to Ann Arbor to attend college was jarring; I felt like I was in a big, scary city for the first few months until I got used to it.

We moved out to the country in early September of this year, and I do not miss city life at ALL.  Driving around Lansing trying to find the parking structure and the conference center frazzled my nerves, and I realized it was because in just six months, I’ve gotten readjusted to country life with minimal traffic, noise, and chaos.

I can relate to Annie, the little country mouse.

When I got home this evening, my shoulders were knotted with tension from driving on I-96 at rush hour.  I walked to the back sliding glass doors and looked out toward the pond, only to see two huge birds, a male and female pair, feeding in our back yard.  Are they herons?  Cranes?  I don’t know birds, but they were probably nearly as tall as my waist.  They walked around the back yard near the woods, the female following close behind the male, while I crept out onto the balcony, enthralled and trying to get pictures of them.

DSC04407 DSC04406 DSC04404 DSC04403 DSC04400

Being a country mouse, I could never set foot in a city again and be perfectly happy with that.

It helps that we have a decent performing arts community for such a small town.  Some of the credit for that goes to the actor Jeff Daniels, who lives here and who started the Purple Rose Theater in town.  There is also our community ballet, which was performing this evening and to which my mother-in-law graciously treated my family plus my husband’s aunt, brother, and sister-in-law.  It was very well-done, and the girl who danced the lead part was lithe and lovely, as a ballerina should be, and her male dance partner was the perfect combination of strength and grace.

I did, however, realize while watching the performance that there is one athletic area where the men are dressed more immodestly than the women.  Behold the male equivalent of female volleyball shorts:

ballet tights

But I’m breathing a sigh of relief to be home in my house in the woods…


10 thoughts on “Country mouse is not a city mouse.

  1. Those appear to be Sandhill cranes. I’m a country mouse myself. Those first five years of my life spent living on a relatively isolated hillside set me up to dislike the sensory overload that is the city. Even the suburbs bother me a bit.


    • Oh my goodness, you’re right! I never would have known that, but when you said “sandhill cranes” I looked it up, and sure enough! Here’s a picture I found online:

      The red cap is a dead giveaway.

      Yes, suburbs bother me, too. I can’t stand the “no trees” look. It looks wrong to my eyes. Even when we lived in a neighborhood, I covered our little yard in trees and gardens, trying to recreate a little piece of the countryside.

      Our eldest daughter is in New York City at this very moment on a school trip. I wonder how she’s faring, as she’s never been to a large city before in her life unless you count Denver and Detroit.


  2. Gorgeous birds!

    I’m the complete opposite – I’m a city girl. I live right in the heart of town. This is Germany, though, where people are constitutionally discreet. My biggest disturbance is the hordes of noisy tourists charging through my street on Saturday morning, so apart from that, this strikes me as the quiet life.

    But London! As we’re circling overhead and the sunlight hits the Thames as it snakes through one of the most dynamic cities on earth, my heart jumps. All the crowds, the theatres, the bookshops, the restaurants, the diverse people… I love it.

    We can agree on suburbia, though, especially when it’s rows after row of silent houses even though the lights are on and there are clearly people there. Having read about how artificial and destructive lawns are, the lawns bother me a bit too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
    This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
    The winds that will be howling at all hours,
    And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
    For this, for everything, we are out of tune,
    It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
    A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
    – Wordsworth


  4. I lived within 10 miles of NYC until my early 30s when I moved to Vermont. I can’t imagine moving back to the hustle and bustle of the city ever and if I did, I’d have to take driving lessons to relearn how to deal with the traffic.

    That said, it’s hard at times to get my teens to appreciate country life. Recently we visited my sister on Long Island and I let them take the train into NYC with their cousins to spend a day exploring.

    When they returned they were aghast at everything they feel they’re missing by living so far away from a major city (we live an hour outside of Montreal, but they don’t believe this counts).

    If we had stayed in NJ, they could see Broadway shows, go shopping at the best stores, visit the top museums in the country, etc. The whining continued all the way back to Vermont.

    I know that they’ll appreciate the calm, sane life we’ve created for them when they’re older along with being able to ski and hike and enjoy swimming holes and lakes that most kids only get to experience while on vacation. But, for now they’d rather be city mice.


  5. I picked up our eldest today from the high school, where they’d just returned from four days in NYC. She told me she’s moving to NYC after she grows up and gets married. I just smiled and told her to talk to her uncle about his time living in Manhattan. It’s nice to visit but…


  6. Yep.

    When I leave work, after the last small town disappears, it is another 10 minutes country road driving to my house.

    My blood pressure drops. Cars disappear, the very few left are my neighbors, we smile and wave as we pass.

    I approach the long white horse rail boundary to my house, and I breathe my final sigh of relief as I stop at the mail box.

    I am originally from the megopolis of southern California. I was clearly born in the wrong place.


  7. Of course, I’ve noticed that where one is born doesn’t dictate whether you are a city person or a country person. My sister arguably spent more time on farms and camping trips than me, yet she is most city person you’ll ever meet. She was visiting my Dad’s farm and mistook a bag of powdered calf formula for detergent, so she washed her clothes in highly diluted milk. I wasn’t even surprised.


  8. I would have LOVED to be in Lansing last weekend. Final Four Baby!

    (was this the real reason for your displeasure there?)

    Seriously, I find myself doing OK in the cities (at least in the “no bars on the windows” neighborhoods), well in the country and small town, but I just don’t like suburbs much.


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