Hearing the word village, I think of a small settlement in the English countryside. There’s an inn, with a name like The Dragon, or The Eagle and Child. A couple of stores, where people from the outlying farms come in regularly and buy what they need. A river, and a cobblestoned bridge over the river. A church.
I imagine everyone knows everyone in this village. You meet your aunts and uncles regularly when you’re out walking, and your cousin serves on the Village Council. Your neighbours pop by regularly for a cup of tea, and they look after your dogs when you’re away from home.
Me, I’m from the big city. Or, from a city big by Norwegian standards anyway; Oslo, capital city of Norway, houses about half a million people.
People sometimes think the city is a lonely and cold place, where no one knows you and no one cares. And indeed – painful thought, but one that must not be forgotten – there are people who have no home in the city even though they live here.
I’m lucky enough that the city is kind to me. For one thing, I enjoy the anonymity. When people don’t know me, they don’t gossip about me, and I like to come home whenever I want – or not at all – without anyone noticing. (I’m actually a homebody who prefers to spend the weekend nights at home sharing a good meal and a bottle of wine with my partner, but that’s beside the point.)
And anyway, what is a city but a collection of villages, of networks tieing people together? I have most of my friends and family within reach on foot or by public transport. I chat with the neighbours about the weather. I’m recognised by the people who own the local deli.
In other words, I have the best of the city and the village both in my life, and I’m grateful for it.
[texture credit on the image to SkeletalMess]