Monday, June 30, 2008

Every now and then I go onto StatCounter (which is a pretty cool tool) and look at who's been visiting me from where. Don't worry, it doesn't tell me who you are or anything. It just tells me city/state/country and a few other meaningless details.

I get this warm and fuzzy feeling seeing all the different visitors. Is that vanity? I feel almost wrong for getting excited over how many people visit me. But even if it is vain, I'm glad you all check in every now and then. Maybe it gives my life meaning? :) It makes me think that my life must not be totally boring anyway.

Which brings me to another topic of discussion. Recently a distant family member shared with another family member that she thinks that people who live in small towns are unenlightened. If only they could see the wonders of the city - the culture, the educational opportunities - they would flock there. Um... NO? I do love a visit to a good city. Seattle is interesting, Vancouver BC was neat, Chicago was fascinating, New Orleans was homey, smelly, exciting, and corrupt. I'm not as partial to Albuquerque or Spokane, they're just not as "cultural." Well, actually, some aspects of Albuquerque were neat, but it was more the surrounding area I was in love with.

But it did get me to thinking, I used to think that way about my life. I had this half-formed idea that everyone must envy me because I have horses, and land, and could be outside every day working hard. Well, not all that hard most days, but still... Then one day I realized. Some people aren't as okay with manure as I am. Some don't like bugs. While I find it disturbing that there is so much pavement in the city that you don't see many bugs or track in much dirt on the carpet, I'm sure many people are relieved by the lack of nature.

Our country lifestyle, our ability to work long, hard hours in the fields or in the forests, is what made this country, and is still the backbone the country is built upon. Without all of those small-town bumpkins, what would the people in the cities eat? What would they use to build the homes and schools they are so proud of? I once saw a bumper sticker that really got me thinking. It said, "Agriculture, the ONLY necessary industry." I suppose they could raise their food hydroponically in high rises. I hear that some dairy cows live in multiple story buildings and never see the light of day. (One more reason I want a milk cow.) And just because a person is in agriculture does not mean they aren't educated. My brother-in-law the farmer went to college to learn how to keep up the machinery. His brother took accounting so he could take care of the farm's paperwork. My friend who raises sheep used to do editorial work for the University here. A lot of thought is put into raising and marketing crops. And the stress! Because you can't control the weather...

This same family member also thinks that higher education is necessary in order to be happy and lead a fulfilling, meaningful life. Um, No... I'm sorry, but we can't all be professors, and who's to say that a professor is happier than a dog groomer anyway? Heck, I'd be happy shoveling crap out of stalls for a living if my back was up to it. My dream job might me working cattle. Or maybe custom farming. Heck, I might like the monotony of answering phones all day. Everyone has the ability to be happy regardless of their level of education or their intelligence. If a person is happy living in a communal bachelor dive, living day to day, loving and upholding their friends, why is that any less okay than going to Harvard? The way I figure it, if you're adding to the happiness in the world you're on the right path. Or even refraining from adding to the darkness in the world is admirable. But living a life that is wrong for you is not going to do anyone much good. Might make more money, but won't really fix the things that matter. I haven't been to college, other than one logic class that I took for fun, which I'm happy to say I got a 4.0 in. So while I'm not totally stupid, I'm not totally educated either. I'm happy. Living my dream. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. I probably will give in to the need for the almighty dollar and go to school or get a job sometime, but not at the expense of my happiness or the well-being of my family.

Okay, so I guess this was totally not mustang related. But the country/small town/agricultural lifestyle part is important to the habit of horsekeeping. Hope my babblings haven't bothered you. I just kind of had to get that off my chest. :)

On another unrelated-to-horses note, we went to see Wall-e yesterday. I highly recommend it.


ARL said...

Hey Andrea,
I know what you mean by city folk automatically thinking that people who live in the country are unworldly backward hicks.

My husbands family have farmed this same farm since the 1880's and most of them have college degrees. My husbands got a BS from WSU and his bro got a BA from Eastern. Our son is going to Central University. More farm kids go on to college than inner city kids that's for sure.

I was raised not far from London (50 miles) and lived in Washington DC for some years. Used to know my way around NY city pretty good. And as a teenager often went shopping in London. But nobody seems take that into consideration because to them I'm just a country bumkin because I now live here. My husband was involved in politics for some years and ran for congress. That's when I saw how people look down their noses at 'country folk'. I used to get pretty insulted. I remember a woman who was involved in the campaign called one day, and when I told her that my husband would get back to her after he finished feeding the cows, she laughed and said "Oh my God"! People expected us to be ignorant and unwordly. One 'city' guy said to me, when finding out we lived on a farm, "I couldn't rough it like that". Everytime I sit in my jetted tub and gaze out the window at the beautiful view, I think of that. Sure some people live 'rough' in the country, but they can live pretty darn rough in the city too.

I have a business here where I ship my product all over the USA and overseas. My husband has started a biodiesel refinery in Creston. There was a story about it on the front page of the Spokesman Review on June 21st.

With the internet, cell phones, Direct TV etc there is nothing to stop us from doing anything we want. Not only do we have the pleasure and freedom of owning our own land but we have the survival skills necessary to feed look after ourselves. How clever do you have to be to read a NY City subway map? Heck, I've been cleared by the White House secret service twice now. Yep, you can do it all and have the sheer pleasure of living far from the maddening crowds.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, you said that very well. You go girlfriend. Lea