It’s that time of year when city dwellers head in droves to the countryside in search of the quietude they rarely find in their daily lives.
Suddenly small towns across the country seem to burgeon with humanity! It’s a time when sleepy little places with names like Sister Bay, Stockbridge, Harbor Springs, and Kennebunkport seem to wake up and come alive.
Festivals of one kind or another; parades and art fairs; farmers’ markets, regattas and concerts in the park or on the beach – for a time, small town America seems to bustle with activity. For those of us who live in the city, it’s a sweet and gentle reminder that we are truly welcome in this world. And for those of us who live in those charming towns and villages, it is a reminder of just how lucky we are to live there.
The movement usually starts quietly sometime around the end of May, and then moves into full swing over the 4th of July. Isn’t it interesting that in a nation that sometimes seems to be divided beyond repair, we have chosen the 4th of July to celebrate our coming together; to remind us of who we are as a people. No matter who we are, small town America has a way of making us feel that we all belong – and in small town America, we do!
Whether we’re guests at the local bed and breakfast, or residents of Main Street, while we’re in small town America, we’re all neighbors. Neighbors who care enough to greet each other with a smile and acknowledge each other’s existence with a quiet “Hello. How are you doing today?”
By nature, small towns tend to run at a slower pace. Generally, they are inhabited by people who have made the choice to live where they do because they want to slow things down a little and embrace each moment for what it is. It’s that slower pace that allows us to care for each other, and to accept each other’s care. And while we’re in small town America – whether it’s for a day, a week, a month, or a lifetime – we sense that we are appreciated by the people we meet, whether it’s the local pharmacist, the shopkeeper, or the innkeeper.
The truth is that when we’re fortunate enough to spend time in small town America, we come away somehow feeling better about ourselves, our lives, and our world. Indeed, we may actually BE better! And for that I say “Kudos, Small Town America!” Kudos for giving us a chance to slow down, to enjoy; to be touched by others’ lives and to touch theirs with ours. Kudos for welcoming us into your midst, and for sending us away refreshed.