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I grew up in a small town, down the road from a brook, and a few miles from an abandoned farm. It is a place with its beauties, its quirks, and its little secrets. There are trees that appear to grow into the clouds, rivers that sing lullabies as you pass, and stories of vampires that run rampant in school hallways and around campsites at night. Like I said, beauties and quirks.
For the most part, we all know each other. We know the faces of the people we pass and the voices of people we hear in the local restaurants. We check on neighbors and watch out for one another. We smile at visitors and say "hi" when we pass on hiking paths. There are trails that run through the woods that most people know, but new comers find themselves lost on despite blue and yellow marks on trees. The pine-needle strewn paths lead to ghost tales and memory talks, dreaming by warm fires with toes in river as minds absorb moments beneath stars and sunsets. Our stories are formed with friends, family, and others. We create a history with the Earth around us, bonding with the dirt, the trees, the water. We look to items and in these items we see our relationships played out- here is where I met him or her, this is where we had our first kiss, this is where I crashed my first car. This is where my friends broke down.
Small towns are a place for love and a place for memory making, maybe even reflection. Families spread out, houses lined along the same road. With only a few feet separating your homes is it really necessary to ever call? A safety net is created having so many people close by, relying on others becomes a way of life despite how often you say "I'm independent". Pride is as strong as the nails holding together fences.
Here, significant others live two minutes down a gravely lane, a less than ideal amount of space when conflict arises, but a treat most sweet when there's not trouble on the horizon. Distance, or lack of, plays a role. Relationships of all kinds become public knowledge, sometimes before the individuals involved are aware.
But still, a small town has it's moments where the proximity of being close to those you love seems to over power the flaws. But are we blinded by this? Does the shining of those people dim our own light? Do we become immune to our dreams that once ran so wild?
Is a small town a place to grow?
Can a tree truly flourish in a bucket or does it need more space for roots?
I suppose you'll never know if you'll grow or wither, but still the small town will be there in all its reliable glory. The mechanic will still be in the same place, the doors on the church still open, classes still taught at the elementary school... continuance in place. Buildings will remain, but change in the way a small town does. They'll slowly grow a little bigger, make more room for newcomers that have decided to remain in the small town. When you fail, if you fail, the small town will still be there waiting with open arms for your return. It may appear changed, but it has not. It is still the same place you left behind, with some of the same characters, and a sprinkling of new stories. The old remains. You're the thing that has changed. A changing of scenery drawing from you elements the small town had left hidden beneath skin and bone.
A tree needs space to fully flourish, its roots need to stretch endlessly before all aspects of its beauty can be found.