Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On the topic of what are the differences between living in the country and living in the city, this is something that I have thought about quite a lot. However, I think it's fair to say that my thoughts on the matter are extremely particular to my personal situation. They apply somewhat to Christina as well, and by extension, may apply to people who lead similar lives to us, and face similar challenges. Who knows, maybe my postulations are more universal than I think....

Like I said, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this topic, and I have decided that the big difference is RESOURCES. This is an intentionally vague and broad-ranging term. If you think about it, "what-you-have-access-to" (or resources), whether that be materially, culturally, socially, environmentally, professionally, etc, is dramatically different in a rural setting or an urban setting.

There are resources out in the country that simply are not available in a city. And there are resources in a city that just can't be found in a place like Taos.

Clean air is a resource here. So is cheap land, cheap rent, cheap space. Wanna build a house by yourself with minimal involvement of the government? You can do that in a place like this. Beautiful views, and a relaxed lifestyle? Yes, we have those here. Do you want access to a rich native American culture and a history of interaction between that culture and the cultures of Spanish and white European settlers? That may not be available in too many other rural settings, but it IS available in northern New Mexico.

On the other hand, do you want access to a wide variety of cheap materials (metal, industrial surplus, electronics, etc)? Not here; try a city. (You can mail order almost anything you want these days, of course, and thank god for that. But I've probably paid over $1000 in shipping in the last year alone.) How about creative jobs with high pay? Sorry... maybe in California. How about cutting edge, experimental culture? No. Christina and I do our best to bring a little of that here to Taos, and we do get recognized for our efforts from time to time, but truly edgy culture does not exist here, and probably is lacking in most rural American areas.

In Buddhism, there is a saying that all suffering comes from attachment. In other words, the only reason we suffer is because we have attachment to a thing, or an outcome, or a person, or whatever, and the suffering comes whenever the reality does not match up with the attachment we have.

It has become clear to me, over time, that I have attachment to the idea of being able to access some of the kinds of resources one finds in a city, and, true to the Buddhist truth, this has caused me a fair bit of suffering. The problem is that I am not ready to give up my attachment to those resources.

I have been working on this "resources" post for days now. It's not finished; I have more to say on this topic. But I think that it's time to post it before it gets too long.

Here are a few pix from yesterday.... Christina and I took the dogs to the river. The Rio Grande is definitely one of our resources.


  1. Thanks for posting the country vs city living issue. Wendy and I discuss this all the time since we also migrated from a large city to the middle of nowhere New Mexico.

    Recently, I went to a Long Now Foundation talk about clean fusion that took place in San Francisco. The talk was incredible and it felt so good to hear a real scientist speak along with a crowd of 500 well known makers. If anything made me miss the city it was that event.

    It still surprises me that there is 'nothing to do' in New Mexico on a high-tech social level. This state is labs and universities. Why isn't there more creative events taking place? It doesn't matter if go south to Las Cruces or north to Taos there is a cultural void in this state.

  2. Hey Christian,
    Your post struck a chord over here. . I see it did for Mikey too!

    My reply comes in the form of a post on our blog: http://blog.holyscraphotsprings.com/2010/07/whats-in-place.html

    . . now if only we didnt have that 5 hour distance between us!

    Your would be, almost but not quite neighbor,