Could children who grow up in a country setting be happier as adults? Though the area around Flandrum Hill is considered semi-rural, it shares many of the characteristics of country living: namely, fresh air, lots of open natural space and the presence of wildlife.
Why would children growing up here be happier? Country kids can play ball in a field or hide and seek in the woods. They can climb trees or play in tree houses. In the summer they can pick berries and wildflowers. They can spend an afternoon looking for frogs, snakes or salamanders. Living near the ocean, kids also have the advantage here of walking to the beach. It seems obvious that any child would grow up happy in this type of environment and take this inner joy with them into adulthood.
But what advantage does country or semi-rural living have for adults? Can we expect to be happier in the country than in town? Certainly the larger lot sizes afford more opportunities for gardening and privacy to do one’s own thing without worrying about disturbing the neighbors. But there has to be some greater advantage for so many people to be attracted to living outside the city when it’s so far from many of the services we rely on in our modern lives (shopping, transportation, entertainment, dining).
We can’t underestimate nature’s uplifting effect on our senses. Perhaps just seeing open spaces, trees, wildflowers and wildlife on a daily basis makes people happier. In summer or in winter, there’s nothing like the scent of fir or spruce boughs to clear one’s head. From birds singing in the spring to the sound of the wind trembling the aspen leaves in the fall, each season brings its own special appeal. Seeing a deer or fox on one’s drive into work in the morning makes life here seem special. Simple pleasures, like feeling the morning mist on your face as you taste a couple of wild blackberries from the vine, would make even non-believers consider the notion that God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world.
- The year’s at the spring,
- And day’s at the morn;
- Morning’s at seven;
- The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
- The lark’s on the wing;
- The snail’s on the thorn;
- God’s in his Heaven -
- All’s right with the world! ~ Robert Browning