We spent many, many years in the city. Almost 20 years in the overpopulated city of Lowell, MA located 35 miles north of Boston. Honking horns, traffic, sirens, yelling people, a cacaphony of sound that becomes background noise for any city-dweller. Restaurants, shopping, night life, public transportation, the availability of minor and major league sports, plays, concerts, art openings and other entertainment and cultural possibilities, educational options from community classes to higher education were things we took for granted. Add to that the fact that we raised a child there- with all the accompanying noise of friends and music and lessons and whatnot and the din can be quite deafening, but you become so accustomed to it all that you don't even notice.
In 2007 we moved to the very, very small town of Madison, IN. It was total culture shock. Madison is a picturesque little place on the Ohio river. The kind of town that rolls up its streets at 8pm. The silence was louder than the noise had ever been. It was so opposite what we were accustomed to that we fled as often as possible to Louisville for dinner, for shopping, for exposure to busy streets. Jim even had a really tough time sleeping without the noise. We did learn- very quickly- to love our deck on our townhouse. We could sit on it and revel in the peace and solitude all while being serenaded by the birds and squirrels and raccoons and deer that dwelled in the state park behind us. It was a completely different symphony from the one in the city- but a symphony none the less.
When we had the option to move down to New Albany, a larger town and only 4 miles from the city, we jumped. We just weren't ready for the complete solitude of Madison. New Albany is a compromise. Still a quiet town, but with just enough city in it to help us acclimate. Perhaps if we had done it in reverse- we could have been very happy in Madison when the time came, but I think it was meant to be this way. We thought that we needed the noise as well as the opportunities. Heck, Jim even slept like a baby the first night in NA when we heard siren just before we fell asleep.
We learned this weekend just how accustomed to the quiet that we have become. My darling nephew flew in to spend two weeks with my parents on Friday. I had forgotten how much little boys talk- and talk- and talk. Besides talk- there is just plain noises. Mouth noises, moving around, fiddling around on the piano, playing with the trumpet, all the "kid staving off boredom" stuff. And it drove us more than a little nutty. By the time Sunday lunch came- we were ready to take our dog and escape back to our home and to the quiet. We even told my dad that we would be siting on the couch just looking at each other not saying a word for the whole night-lol.
I am thankful for how quiet my life has become. I am also thankful to have learned that lesson from my nephew this weekend. Now I can revel in it when I realize how good I have it.