My life with my farmer and our six children. Made possible by massive amounts of caffeine.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
My beautiful valley!
I picked up the current issue of a popular travel/food/gardening/lifestyle magazine this week, and just had a chance to flip through it yesterday. One of the articles was about 5 great towns to move to if you want to start over. I was pleased to see that a charming town about 25 miles away from me was one of the five on their list. This is a really neat little town with a wonderful old downtown area. We go there from time to time and browse the fun stores, have ice cream at an ice cream parlor, and play on a really cool wooden play structure.
After looking at the pictures, I read the text of the article, and was taken aback by what I read. The second line said "....but the towns along the highway are, well, less than picturesque!" I was aghast! What snobbery! How untrue! And, does it really matter? After all, these "less that picturesque" towns are where people are raising their families, earning a living, trying to make the best of what they have been given. Isn't that enough? Does every town have to be storybook perfect, with only upscale new stores and trendy boutiques? Perfectly groomed yards and shiny new (or perfectly restored old) houses? No signs of struggle or decay?
I beg to differ. I think every town is picturesque, and there are fascinating and lovely and picture worthy sights everywhere you go. The pictures in the magazine were all taken on sunny days, by professional photographers in a carefully arranged photo shoot. Real life is often sunny, but sometimes gray and rainy and messy. Reality is not the one cute little street of old buildings holding fantastic new stores.
Reality is people living out their lives, following their dreams, putting their passions on display for the world to see. In towns that may not be deemed worthy to authors of article is snooty, trendy magazines. I would challenge them to do more than drive by, windows rolled up with air conditioners blasting. Stop the car, walk around and really look. Snap pictures of things that interest you, the unusual or beautiful, the unscripted.
Truth is, you might be surprised by what you find. You might find that even the most neglected, run down towns have beauty spots or old buildings with unusual details.
You might find a cool little gelateria tucked in between a hair salon and an empty storefront. I am proud to live in the Willamette Valley, proud to call it home. I take exception to someone flying in, snapping a few pictures, and pronouncing the towns "less that picturesque". I am sure the photographer and author of the article will never find my blog. However, the fact remains that our towns are picturesque, and we are quite happy in our valley, thank you very much! Beauty is where you find it, not where the folks at a "following the latest trends" type of magazine tell you it is!