Town mouse and country mouse

Ladybird books! My childhood was full of them. Great stuff.

TMCM1673593

Brought up in a small-middle-sized city, it’s a good thing I never had to answer the question as to whether I was a town or country mouse. I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out and would have probably been given detention for the smoke coming out of my ears as I tried to decide.

To my mind there are pros and cons of both; my problem is that I still never seem to be able to choose. There is comfort in the anonymity of living in a large city (living in the wrong country for that one then), but with a large population (density) comes a lack of space and silence needed to empty your heart in order to let Christ reign in it.

Going up, whilst not to a city per se, but to the outskirts of a conurbation, led me to gingerly classify myself as ‘country’. After all, I spoke with a slight accent, thought the city smelled weird, and stopped and watched every time a large aeroplane whizzed overhead. Nowadays I speak with all manner of accents, but I still watch planes.

Life in a city can be draining. There is always noise – kids playing, youths up to no good, general traffic, ambulances, police helicopters, ice cream vans, urban music festivals, local fauna – and unless you are some sort of nocturnal (and perhaps not even then!), you have little hope of being able to experience silence.

Not that country life is a quiet, relaxed bliss, of course; life outside city boundaries can be very hard indeed. Rural communities often suffer higher crime rates than their urban equivalents. There is a much less visible poverty problem.

On balance, though, I would still hold with my self-assessment as being on the country side of things. Not by much – the convenience of urban life holds attractions for me – but enough to make it declarable.

Depending on how tired I am, you might hear my home accent slip out.

Depending on how tired I am, you might hear my home accent slip out.

However bumpkin I might be to some, though, I now have enough traits that would surely mark me out as one of those stereotypical folks who commute around and have little to no idea as to what life in the countryside is like, let alone how crucial it is to all of us.

Like killing chickens, for example:

And simply because there is a Part 2, and not posting both parts would leave me twitching:

It took me a few attempts before I could watch the first and make it to the end, and it really wasn’t so bad as some part of me had feared. But my whole advance reaction (if that makes sense) give me pause.

Whilst I don’t have the links to hand – nothing some thoughtful googling couldn’t fix, I’m sure – I recall reading articles about how kids these days don’t know much about where food comes from. There are almost clichéd tales about people expressing a mild sense of horror at watching a cow being milked. Being honest, though, I read such things with an attitude of ‘Well, I knew that all along, so I’m not part of this! Nur nur! Pesky city slickers.’

Well one’s arrogance is all well and good until you meet the boundaries of your own experience, which is what happened when I (tried to) watch that first video. All my intelligence says that that hen was never a pet, and that creatures (and by extension all the world’s resources) are entrusted to use – prudently – for our own needs (that sounded awfully liberally flower-power, didn’t it? Wasn’t my intention), so to kill it for food or some other good reason is a good thing. But that didn’t prevent the feeling of my insides knotting itself up at the anticipation of the inevitable.

(These are also the insides that love the smell of roast chicken)

Perhaps I’ve become more urbanised than I had realised.

Excuse me. I’m off to learn how to farm.

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