The tiny town which serves as "civilization" is about a twenty minute's drive away. Small shops. Narrow streets. Old sidewalks. Restaurants with individual flavor and personality. Store clerks who talked to you. It was all freshly decorated for the holiday season.
Beautiful, and, dare I say, sincere.
I wondered what it would be like to live there in the town, without a car. Or using a car only rarely. Could I do it? There's a little Acme grocery store on the main street, a pharmacy, too. Churches are walkable. Surrounding the main street are lesser streets that cross-cross neatly with old wooden houses, many with gingerbread ornamentation. Tiny well-groomed yards.
Wouldn't it be lovely? Small-town living?
After a brief conversation we all agreed that we just couldn't do it. It would drive us out of our minds.
How sadly addicted we are to being able to hop in the car and visit a million places within a few minutes. Our cars represent personal freedom, independence, a life-line to all our needs and wants. How could we survive if we couldn't get to Target? (How pathetic is this whole train of thought?)
To be honest, in this kind of a comparison Columbia/Howard County is at one end of the spectrum and St. Michael's is at another. There's plenty of room in between. As we strive for more walkability in our evolving downtown, it will not mean we will be forced to give up our cars and walk to and from the Acme with our grocery bags.
Getting away from it all gave us time to be together as a family. We enjoyed every moment of the low-key, chilling-out experience. But we also got a lesson on how dependent we are on the comforts of home, and how much that really means dependence on automobiles.
Hmm. I'm still thinking...