The Countryside to the Brighter Lights

UrbanVsRural

At twenty-six years of age, I have experienced something that most have not.  For some people, the most they could do is move across the city or move across town.  Migration is apparently lost to some.  More often than not, a city dweller does not know what it is like outside their concrete paradise.  Conversely, people does not know about life outside the tranquil countryside.  I have had that chance to find out if life exist beyond what I am used to.

I grew up in the countryside.  My life was nothing but a rural setting.  Now let me stress one thing.  You cannot claim that you are from a rural neighborhood when your town alone equals the population of an entire country.  If you come from a town of around 14-15,000 or greater, you are not rural.  Sorry.

I grew up in a town called West Union in southern Ohio. The population is between 2,800 and 3,000.  The town, in terms of area, is somewhat large, so the people in the town is spread out.  I lived in an unincorporated portion called Unity, but it was still technically West Union.  My hometown (and pretty much the rest of the country) consists primarily of farm land.  Farms and Amish. Other than that, nothing.  Fields and hills.

We have very little in terms of entertainment.  Walmart is the hottest place to go, mainly because that’s the only mall the whole county has.  We have some McDonalds and Subways scattered.  Other than that, your only way of getting somewhere to do something is to travel 30 miles in any direction.

My neighbors were Amish.  No lie.  In every direction of my home, there was an Amish family.  Unity is notorious for its Amish Community.  Every Sunday Afternoon, city folk would tour, making commuting a pain.  I’d much rather dodge road apples (google it) than a 76 year-old from Indianapolis.  Other than those Sunday afternoons, life was peaceful.  Crime in that area was incredibly low.  You could leave your car and house unlocked because it was so tranquil and people were home by 8.

I left for Dayton, Ohio in 2013 because for someone to grow, you have to do that in some other place than the countryside.  Sure, that’s the ideal place for people to escape to or the best place for people who dislikes the busy life.  It is not really the place for someone to make something of themselves, that is unless you are destined to be a farmer.  I didn’t own a farm, although I eat and have the strength like a farm boy.  I could not find anything that I wanted to do.  What I wanted to do required a lengthy education and West Union was not the place to do it.

For three years, I’ve been in the city.  I was nervous for a bit from the start.  I was not sure if I would hear gunshots or something like that.  I got over it… eventually.  Being up here for this amount of time, I can honestly say that I do not like this city life.  I cannot stand the traffic.  All of that exhaust, the speeding Prius’ zooming down the alley… it’s depressing.  Everyone is moving so fast.  I’m not used to it and I don’t think I ever will be.  I believe that the saddest part of the whole city is that there is a lack of nature.  I have said that to people and they tell me that there is.  That there are Metroparks.  It’s not the same.  A few acres of woods surrounded by highway and concrete does not constitute as nature.  Sorry to disappoint.  To me, in comparison, nature here is artificial.  Nothing can really flourish because of the never-ending change of the landscape.  I want to do something with the landscape.  Majoring in Urban Affairs, I want to implement policies where buildings are rehabbed to prevent to constant spreading of shopping malls and restaurants.

In comparison, I have to say that the countryside is tons more better than the city.  I do have to admit that there are perks to the city.  You can have access to more things and have more a varieties on how you shop.  You can meet new people from other lands and expand your cultural knowledge.  But, how does that help with your mental health?  The stress of constant pressure.  You have to GO GO GO!  It’ll break you!  Go to the sticks and you can move at your own pace.

It’s just an opinion of mine.  Unless you have no choice, just distance yourself from the hustle and bustle.  Breathe, take care of your mind.  The country is the place to be to heal yourself.

 

A Remembrance of My Homeland

Courthouse.JPG

I come from Adams County, Ohio.

I come from a location that nobody outside of the tri-county area has heard of.  A predominately white and poor community, filled with retirees and welfare ridden country people.  Visually, this county is the best.  Adams County is probably the Mecca of all things nature.  From the valley of Manchester to the peaks of Peach Mountain in Peebles, or from the clusters of fossils in Brush Creek to the heights of Buzzards Roost.  Nature is the foundation of the county.  Sightseers from near and far roam the street, whether it’s intentional or not.  For the city folk, Miller’s Bakery is the place to go, followed by lunch at Cruiser’s Diner.  People from Indiana or cities like Cincinnati come to see the Amish, as if they have just entered into the country from a third world village in the middle of Europe.

My point?  Adams County is pretty.  The landscape is beautiful.  It is so quiet that you could hear trains six miles away.  It is just a peaceful place.  Not at a Mayberry level, but for Ohio standards, let’s take it.

Unfortunately, the beauty that is Adams County does nothing for the livelihood of the area.  The county has one of the highest amounts of unemployment in the entire state, sitting at 7.3% as of December 2016.  It ranks as the third poorest county.  Why?  Nothing happens.  Jobs tend to be handed to relatives and people are on disability.  On top of that, no major company wants to settle a semi-remote portion of the state.  A decent chunk of people farm.  The impact that has locally varies.  Some farmers are committed to serving to the surrounding areas, while others seek the areas that pay them the most.

Money is key in everyday life, and for the people of Adams County, it is spent elsewhere.  Aside from Walmart, where else can they go?  The answer to that is somewhere other than their hometown.  Any mall or entertainment is a good drive away.  What money that is produced in Adams County is spent somewhere else, so the circulation does not stick with the local economy.

 Right now, as I am typing this, news broke of the closure of the local power plants of DP&L.  The closure means lost jobs and lost monies.  With this, the county government is having to readjust the budget which will result in lost jobs of teachers, children services, emergency response teams such as EMT’s.  If you’re local to Ohio, you may have heard of the near obliteration of DHL leaving Wilmington.  A majority of that city worked at that single location, so when the company left, so did the jobs.  Away went people’s mortgages, food supply and things like that.  The same is about to happen to Adams County.  Millions of dollars will be lost and a county that was already broke to begin with will lose even more.

It breaks my heart.  I don’t know why the place has to go in its apparent direction.  The place has so much potential.  I cannot fully blame DP&L, mainly because I do not have the full details.  I blame the people in the governmental offices.

It’s all a matter of advertisement.  Show the benefits of Adams County.  Show that the county is more than scenery.  All that the touting of the scenery accomplishes is that the county has priorities in the wrong places.  People got on Social Security as a last resort because of the lack of options.  Is it fair for people to drive an hour or two to make very little to live on?  Bring factories, bring innovations.  Utilize the land.  Adams County has a high amount of clay.  Make something with pottery.  Invest and take a gamble in something that will boost the economy.  It is not fair to cut services because the county relied to heavily on one resource.

I left the county because of the stagnation of the area.  Life is moving at a snail’s pace.  While that’s great for crime or for the shear fact of tranquility, it does nothing for the progress of the area.  Investment is what the county needs.  You don’t want to break your leg and there’s nothing you can do but set it yourself.  It’s 2017.  It’s time that something happened for the benefits of economic growth.