I live in a city, but not in the city. A subtle, yet important distinction.
I don’t live fashionably far from the city in a quaint country village with gourmet cafes, boutique stores and a warm, welcoming atmosphere (I wish!). And I don’t live on a semi-rural acreage with rolling green paddocks, a compact hobby farm, and a house filled with rescue animals (it’s on the list!).
My house stands deep within the semi-industrial suburban outskirts on the outer north of the city. I live so far from the capital city that I actually reside within a different local government region. Each day as I criss-cross my way to and from different yoga teaching gigs, I pass by the ‘Welcome to Brisbane’ and ‘Thanks for visiting Brisbane’ signs. Pretty funny really.
Sometimes I find this gulf between city and home a challenge. Superficially it can seem like I’m caught in a social and cultural wasteland – there aren’t many cafes or restaurants of note, and big international artists and exhibitions are unlikely to jostle for space at a local venue. Though it’s all a matter of perspective and priority.
And I could always travel for those experiences. Honestly though, I’m pretty smitten with my simple life and more than a little content spending time in my own space. So only the most important of occasions sees me allocate precious time and money further afield. Because time is priceless and doing stuff is so expensive, yes?
More often than not, this city to home separation is of no bother. It can even be nice. It’s as if this physical distancing from obvious distractions, has gifted space to the undergrowth of more delicate opportunities. A chance for them to grow stronger and rise to prominence.
Less busyness to clutter the head. More space to open the heart.
And then there’s the wildlife. Such richness and beauty. Despite the pressures of ever-expanding development, life (at least for now) finds a way to hold on. On a regular basis I’m fortunate enough to see (& hear) Galahs, Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Brushtail Possums, Rainbow Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Kookaburras, Butcherbirds and Bush-stone Curlews. On rarer occasions I’m visited by Koalas, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Green Tree Frogs, Sacred Kingfishers and Pheasant Coucals. Given the vast number of living creatures humans hold captive and try to control, it always warms my heart to see such wildness living untethered and untamed (even if this freedom is granted more by accident than design).
So here I am. I live in a city, but not in the city. My house has a back deck on which I grow a compact selection of herbs and vegetables. Beyond the deck, the house overlooks a park with an expanse of green grass, shady trees and the occasional wildlife visitor.
It is a home filled with love, laughter and the not-always-so-quiet footsteps of rescued animals. It may not fulfil the quaint country village atmosphere or rolling green acreage of my dreams, but if I take a few steps back and draw in a wider perspective, it’s not all that far off.