I Miss the Country

–I miss stacking firewood on the porch on a cool winter evening under the final, slanting rays of the dying sun descending into the bare, skeletal trees that looks like a mass of fire. Looking at a big stack of firewood can make one feel rich, in a deep, personal sense.

–I miss driving and instead of being surrounded by concrete and asphalt and caricatures of nature, I’m actually huddled in by trees and nature with an untamed sense to it. I like occasionally see an old barn, an open field or some horses.

–I miss big open places where you can walk and hear nothing.

–I miss hearing about deer season or local news that would seem so inconsequential to an Atlantan, but is a big deal to the locals.

–I miss taking the bike out on the Silver Comet Trail on a hot summer afternoon, stopping for a break and watching the sun set, but knowing I had plenty of time to get back.

–I miss those hot summer days when my mother would boil a big pot of collard greens and have the front and back doors open, yet the house still smelled like collards.

–I miss autumn days when the leaves start to turn, the air is cooler and fall festivals begin.

–I even miss stupid stuff like seeing jacked-up redneck trucks covered in mud and cars with “happy graduation” written on their rear windows.

I grew up in a fairly rural area, but I’ve lived in Atlanta now for 8 years. I’m now 34 years old. I really don’t want to still be here when I’m 40. When I really start to think about it I feel like I’m wasting my life here. By most standards I’m doing OK; I’ve got a job I love, more money than I’ve ever had and I’m pretty happy overall; but I just can’t convince myself that my surroundings are conducive to that happiness. My happiness feels like it exists INSPITE of my surroundings.

Of course there’s more to do in Atlanta than in the country, but I’ve found that I go out far less living here. At this point I don’t go anywhere. I’m at one of three places; my job, home or once a week at the grocery store for about 30 minutes. Working at a club I probably get enough socializing there. First of all you have to have money to have fun in the city. But second, I find traffic and the general hubub of the city is a deterrent for me to get out at all. I still don’t know my way around Atlanta, and I don’t want to.

I find myself largely surrounded by people who seem not to care if they ever see a tree, bush or single blade of grass. Most people I know here feel they’ve “escaped” from the country or have moved here from other cities and don’t understand it’s charms. Of course maybe I forgot to mention they’re all gay men like myself, yeah if you’ve read this far, I just came out. Gay men escape from the country, they don’t live in it. But the country is something that gets in your blood, or it just doesn’t. I surely thought when I moved here that I’d never want to go back, but that’s not true. I feel a near-magnetic, nostalgic pull that really makes my life feel incomplete.

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