After a meeting downtown this evening, I took a long way back to the train station. My heels click-clacked on the pavement as I walked down the streets, so oblivious to everything around me and yet so observant. The plaque next to the state federal court building drove me to a road away from the direction I came. The buildings stood in their awe-inspiring glory, as I walked across a bridge overlooking the interstate. This is what it feels like to be back in the city, I thought to myself. Surely this is what I miss: the big buildings that swallow me whole, the grandeur, the signs dividing the parts of town, walking over the interstate and seeing cars and knowing that I’m not in any of them.
Two more turns led me to a road that was familiar by name but not so much by appearance. By name it had the same sound as anything I associate with a city. By appearance, this part of the road was definitely past its time. Run-down buildings next to the road. Groups of men talking and laughing on the street. Horses whose carriages should have been replaced by now. As I approached the train station, the buildings evolved from a dilapidated state to an abandoned one. Apathy had ruined these once-grand places.
I grew up in a small town where my love for the large city is unappreciated. The traffic, the crime (which is for the most part grossly exaggerated), the crowds are all reasons cited to keep me in a small town, and any positives are shoved aside. It’s not just the culture that keeps me in a city. It’s the ability to step out the door and have an adventure. Living life is only existing if not done properly, and unfortunately people lose that joy halfway through.
With or without the joy, the city is my reminder that I am not as big as I think I am. The world is so big, much bigger than any of us, and we are so small. Regardless, we can still make a difference that is bigger than we are.