Bucolic conjures up visions of the best of the countryside, the best of what living connected to nature can afford. In 1900, 40 percent of the total population in the U.S. lived on farms and most of the remaining families lived in rural areas. Today only 1 percent live on farms and 20 percent live in rural areas. We have become cityfied.
Living on a farm in 1900 was a lot of work. Building everything by our own hand, digging wells, tending animals, growing crops, sewing clothes. That doesn’t even include educating the children or any outside entertainment. Today much of that work is done for us and most of us decide that’s a trade-off we want.
But there is a joy in hard work, done by our own hands, deeply attached to nature, animals, the land and the sky. There is a rhythm in nature, a flow and a power. Sometimes it is gentle and supportive, sometimes it maintains us and at other times it is powerful and destructive. But there is also its bucolic nature. There is a gentle stillness in touching the earth and seeing things grow, in smelling the grass in the fields and watching the fruit and berries grow to maturity. We can taste, touch, hear, see and smell that sweetness.
Today we yearn for bucolic bliss. Most of us seek a balance between the sweetness and connection of the farm and the ease and entertainment of the city. Maybe we can find that, either in a city or on a farm. That depends on what balance strikes us as ideal. Finding our balance between easeful and bucolic is worth striving for.
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