More years ago than I care to think about I lived under the shadow of the Empire State building, if the sun was just coming up over the curve of the earth and one looked up and could see it’s shadow. But anyway, I moved from northern NJ where one couldn’t tell where one town stopped and the next started. The town I lived in had a population of 20kish, and thankfully a very good school system. We had deer and wildlife in the backyard. I went into the military and when I went back home there were condos in the backyard and the town was NOT the same town where I was raised. Where, just afew years before I would go shooting and camping was turned into corporate offices and such. I started making plans to get outta Dodge. I assume it’s much worse there today but I haven’t been back in decades so I really don’t know.
Today I live in rural Maine. The town has maybe 13k as a population but our small pocket of community, tucked away from the town by 10 miles of forest, has maybe 30 people at just a rough guess. We pretty much know everyone else and if a stranger comes up the road we know it. We look out for each other and help when needed to include banding together for the common good, otherwise we give each other space. We’re surrounded by thousands of acres of land that’s not posted so our “backyard” goes on for miles if one has a mind to go on foot that distance. I’ve often contemplated what I would do if I ever was forced to go back to living without elbow room and I don’t know if I’d eat a bullet, but I would find life pretty much not worth living. I don’t know how I did it all those decades ago; I didn’t know any better. I have grown accustomed to the freedom and liberty that I have where I now live.
I go outside in the morning and the silence is deafening. When a truck does go on the secondary road a few miles away and over the mountain I can hear the tires whining. If someone is shooting we know it as a good sound and nothing to be feared. But if shooting needs to happen everyone I know has the means to do it so we’ve never had any local crime. “An armed society is a polite society”, I think it was Heinlein who wrote that, or was it Cooper?
When the cop killer was running around we had LEOs on the property, the area was infested with them, but they were here for us, and didn’t look afoul at us for carrying long guns the same as they were. We see them as our friends and not our enemies. When the media showed up during that time we saw the perceived enemy on “our” hill but not before they arrived. Even the cop killer we didn’t see as an enemy, just someone to protect against, sorta like a rabid fox.
We notice city folks who find the road that leads out to us and was developed by someone a few years ago. They move in and realize that the problems they wanted to run away from followed them. They can’t run away from themselves. The local paper documents the minor crimes that occur there so that we can make note. That same road when we moved here had lass than a handful of homes on it and if one had auto problems at night one had a long, cold, and dark walk to find help or possibly freeze to death, literally. Not anymore, that’s changed. We don’t know those people though.
We’ve had people come out and after spending a short time realize that we’re sandwiched in an area close enough to services and conveniences but far enough away to keep others at a decent arms length. I dislike it when it’s invaded. For instance the coming census and it’s questions that are mostly not census questions, but invasive. I’ll destroy the papers, and when the census taker comes I’ll tell the person our headcount then tell them to get off my land. They won’t like it and they’ll threaten me, but it’s worked for decades. Let’s see, attempt to force me to do something I don’t want to do, and threaten me if I don’t do it… what is the definition of slavery? They can leave, I’m not their slave and they’re in the wrong place if they think I am.
I love rural life and I find my place in it worth protecting without outside interference.