Saturday, September 18, 2010

Community: Big World Made Small

Shady Sidewalk
I realize this isn't a radical idea. That I'm not the first person to have this realization - but after a year of living a personal life this is pedestrian based - my world feels smaller (in a good way). I moved from an urbanish suburb where if you saw someone on foot or bike your first thought tended to be, "Aw. Their car broke down." A 15 minute drive was typical to get anywhere. And, while new building codes had begun to require the inclusion of sidewalks along the street front - - the sidewalks were rather patchworked - - new and remodeled buildings sporting them but the older properties let their granfathered-in grass grow wild. The distance between things with the lack of an easy path there did not make for conducive walking conditions. And, forget public transportation - you include that in your suburb and people from the city just might infiltrate!

Before I lived here I'm not sure I would have thought communities like this actually existed. On my 10 minute walk home from church (on continuous sidewalk no less!) the other week I watched the street next to me and counted six bicycles to one car. I passed dozens of other pedestrians. I thought about how much more fluid life is when you're not in a car. I don't have to park my vehicle in some random spot just there for the sole purpose of parking a vehicle. I don't have the in and out of the car and getting situated and keeping up with my keys. I don't lug around a bunch of extra stuff. My purse gets cleaned out regularly and the only things that go with me on trips are things I need.

I actively choose things based on their walking distance now. I measure distance in blocks.  It makes things simpler in a way - my radius of  options is small - I try to have everything within a mile (a 20 minute walk). When I recently (finally!) got around to finding a local dentist the choice of "which one?" was easily solved by picking one that was a few blocks away. I can walk a mile or so and get to: the post office, church, a couple grocery stores, a number of parks, a number of coffee shops, video rental, the library, the dentist, dry cleaner, a fabric store, movie theatre,  a number of restaurants, and many other things. 

I don't think I will be in a densely populated area forever - as I want to try that whole "living in a yurt on a wide open meadow miles away from anyone" thing one day too - - but for now it's really nice and I love that I get to experience this kind of living.


  1. It sounds lovely. I am glad you have found a community in the midst of urban life. I live in a fairly small town by comparison, but am really lacking for that feeling due to our house being located so far out of town. I can't just walk out my front door and go places/be around people, I always have to drive. Yet at the same time we don't exactly live a rural life either. I would like one or the other - the in-between of being not totally disconnected, but not connected either, is a bit hard to get used to.

  2. You have an award on my blog! :)

  3. I have to agree that this sounds so nice. I personally would love to live a suburban enough area to commute a lot. I'm excited to see what kind of area Franklin and I move to within the next year.