Villages – Towns – Cities

White Horse Village – changing China:

I watched a bit of this programme yesterday

and was somehow surprised by a female presenter attitude. She pointed at a lady and said something like that this unfortunate one has to abandon the idea about going away to work in a factory, instead she is doomed to stay with her kids and work on a farm, and that’s such a hard work. Well, we switched the TV off after that. I think almost any way to earn money is hard, one way or another. It may be the stress (separation from family and home) or unhealthy lifestyle instead of the hard physical work, but the hard bit is still here. Interestingly, I’ve heard there was some research showing that men’s health is worse if they stay at home all the time, women’s health is worse if they go away to work.

I haven’t been to China but I see how in the Russian countryside the city folk dreams to live close to the nature, not just stay here on holidays, but most of the village and small town dwellers wants to move to the city, to give up their land, to fill up yet another huge ugly apartment block. There used to be quite a lot of tension and hostility on the buses, but now the better off people unfortunately mostly use their cars.

Once I was walking through a village, seen a nice old house and decide to take picture of it (no, its not that one). Immediately a very angry elderly lady popped out and started shouting at me. I was surprised – I would count it for a compliment if people started to take pictures of my house or garden. Anyway, she disappeared next year – probably moved to a town…

So, I’m bothered with question: Why people who live close to nature, see the beauty every day, have fresh air to breath and birds to listen to, are often so unhappy, jealous and hostile? Are they already so deeply affected by modern consumer culture watching TV and doing their shopping in towns and cities? In that angry lady’s village, there are crowds of tourist and pilgrims passing by yet local folk don’t even try to organise any farmers market which would be of a great success and helped them to stay afloat, I think. Its just looks like they don’t want to be happy where they are. Even here, in Newtown (Wales) I recon my encounter with xenophobic hostile youngsters shows that there is a class of people why don’t feel any inspiration from marvelous countryside around them, instead they think themselves being on some unfortunate margin of modern society.

PS. And the size of local gardens doesn’t help either. All the fields around, but the ordinary person in Newtown is lucky to have enough land to hung the washing in the back garden! Not surprising there is not much connection to the land.

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  1. Sasha –Many thanks for the follow on my site. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and looking at your work. I especially like the lens that you hold up to the UK – because you see it through eyes with a very different perspective.Look forward to seeing moreBest wishes SteveMy Dog Ate Art

  2. Sasha, Here in Canada we have the same problem. Both of my brothers have moved to the west coast for better jobs and more money. I think the best thing we can do is to show by example. To be close to nature is to be close to God. People will be wondering “Why is Sasha so happy and relaxed?” You will be able to say that you live an agrarian life style and point out the gift that they have in living in the country. Sometimes it takes a little poke to wake up people who are asleep. Most people are not aware of the way they are fooled by big business and cooperations.

  3. Just an addition to my last note. Dostoeskey recognized the problem when he said ” neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. When it has been attempted, the result has been only grotesque. “When men seek material things as a higher ideal it is not pretty.

  4. Thank you both very much for you comments. Well, I can't call my life exactly "agrarian" – just on the edge of a small town & the garden is not big at all. If we moved to a proper farm, I wouldn't be able to do much shopping and my husband couldn't go to work to the University – without a car.

  5. Size is not at all important. It is the way you live that is the key. I call my home my monastary when in fact it is just a house. Most people are asleep spiritually and have no sence of the environment around them. G.K. Chesterton understood and said that most people were in fact upside down.

  6. What I got from the first paragraph of your post was that the presenter was also denigrating the concept of housewifery, as if motherhood is a chore that any woman should be happy to ESCAPE by going to work in a factory. I don’t think I like the presenter either!

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