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