A New Small Town Girl

Jeannine is moving to a small town.

It's 45 minutes away from my small town. To get to where we live you have to take a ferry or drive two hours to cross a big bridge. If you live out here, you didn't just accidentially take a wrong turn at the Space Needle, you chose to find this place.

No one just "ends up" here. We are the small towns you have to hunt for. There is no freeway connecting us to the city, no freeway connecting us to anything. We are small highways and old roads winding around farms and forests.

City folk worry about people breaking into their cars, we worry about trees falling into to ours. We worry about weather, how long the power will be out. We buy generators for our homes. We deal with septic tanks and drain fields. It is not uncommon to hear coyotes at night. It is not uncommon to love your cat to a coyote or your kitten to an eagle. We know the flight patterns of birds and not airplanes.

But one thing to know about the small town life is that it gives you extra time to let your mind wander and sometimes while this leads to wonderful creative ideas and inspired thoughts, it can lead to anxiety. When I visit the city, I do not have time to worry. I am making sure I'm not hit by a Metro bus or watching the musicians on the street. There is constantly something moving my thought from one place to another--oh look, the traffic, the homeless, the street vendors, the cork tree, the Lusty Lady, the art museum, the, the, the, from one image to the next.

Out here, when the only things that changes is the shape of clouds or the color of sky, your mind can wander into anxiety. Your mind can be your best friend or that shadowy figure you run from. It's a challenge for me as I have a creative mind that likes to put different scenarios into play, not to move into the "what ifs." But that same creativity, those same thoughts many times move into a poem instead.

And I love my small town life even if I have to move past those thoughts dashed with anxiety because creatively you can thrive out here. Because the one thing people have out here more than anything else, is time. (Now, what you do with your time is your choice, but it's something we tend to have more of.)

So welcome Jeannine, you've just been awarded the gift of time (and beauty, and fresh air). Enjoy! And write!


  1. I lived in a small town in Italy for a while. Couldn't help feeling like the kid at the candy store looking through the shop window at something I could never enjoy. Still I envy the peace and quiet that small town life affords.

  2. I'm a small town girl, myself. There's great writing material hidden in the cracks of the sidewalks and the knots of the wooden front porches -- that is if one can avoid the cliches!


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