Once, many years ago, or as may be appropriate, "Once upon a time," my older brother referred to he and I as "The Country Mouse and The City Mouse." He being the City Mouse, and me, of course, being the Country Mouse. We came from a small town, and even lived on a small farm for a number of years, then moved into the "big city" when I was 16. My brother has lived most of his adult life in a major metropolitan area, including more than a decade in Los Angeles. On the other hand, I have lived the majority of my adult life in either farmland or forest. My dream job of Hermit In The Woods reflects my preference for country life. Now, my brother lives near Las Vegas, and has to escape to the mountains or desert on a regular basis to clear the stress of city life from his system. Me, I work in the city but get to flee to the seclusion and peace of my little house in the heart of farm country.
In the tale of the two mice, the main focus is on the meals offered. The Country Mouse offers her cousin a simple meal, that the City Mouse scoffs at and invites the country cousin into the city to enjoy a sumptuous meal. Of course, once in the city the two mice are threatened by predators. The Country Mouse decides she would rather eat and live simply and in peace, than to be plagued by fears. "I would rather gnaw a bean, than be gnawed at by fear." Although I am not afraid of city life, or city dwellers, there is a shred of truth to this. I would rather live a simple, moderately impoverished life, and have peace within my sanctuary, than to live a fast paced, albeit potentially more lucrative life, in a place I cannot totally relax.
I am not sure why I have been thinking of this little fable lately, but it has been pressing on my mind. Yes, I think my brother's words have clung to me, to be echoed over and over through the years. The words have been bubbling to the surface with regularity for the last year or so. I can understand why they tickled me last year, when I was beginning to have thoughts of buying a home, but now I have that home in the country. Maybe I am just thinking of my brother, who I haven't seen in more than 10 years. and haven't talked to for nearly a year. My brother and I were so close growing up that people often mistook us for twins. As we became young adults we continued to be close, sharing housing, forming a band, even working at the same eclectic deli. We were so often in each others company that a lot of people thought we were married. No, we were not THAT close, but it does explain why I never had much luck getting dates. I know I can call him and we will talk until our phones die, but he has such a busy life with 4 kids at home, and a job that stresses him, that I hesitate to call, knowing I am interrupting something. It is strange, to have been so close for over 20 years, and now to never see one another. It does make me sad, but I have no doubts that he loves me every bit as much as I love him, so I don't worry.
But this Country Mouse knows that the City Mouse has more than a trace of envy for her quiet, simple life. And justifiably, my life is wonderful, and without the burdens of material trappings. I do love my life.