I recently saw an article come across my Facebook feed credited to a site called “Roadsnacks” that claimed to have used “scientific analysis” to rank the ten worst places to live in Connecticut. To my surprise I saw that the town I now live in was number five on the list, the town directly south of me was number seven, and the next two to my north were numbers three and ten. I’ve recently done some complaining about the school system and I knew that the crime and unemployment numbers were higher than the state average per capita, but this still seemed a pretty harsh inditement of my quiet little corner of the state. I don’t live in Mayberry by any means, but there are 268 towns and cities in Connecticut, and I’m pretty sure that there aren’t 263 that I’d rather live in.
I soon realized the problem. The article was obviously written by “city folk.” Among the criteria used were population density, ( the lower the worse) and long commute times. One of the towns was described as “not a very appealing place to live, unless you like peace and quiet.” I’m not making this up.
I actually do like “peace and quiet.” The combined population of the four towns mentioned is just under 30,000, a fraction of what you would find in an area this large anywhere else in the state. One of the first things that my daughter does in the morning is to look out our back window for her friend “Frosty”, an albino deer that lives in the woods behind us. You don’t see things like that in Hartford or New Haven.
It might take me thirty minutes to get to work each day, but there are four state parks within five minutes of me and another two within ten. I can’t tell you how many hiking trails there are nearby because I still haven’t discovered the smallest fraction of them. I’m working on it though.
My daughter loves to go on these “adventures” into the woods with me. She’s learning to appreciate nature and is as excited to see a squirrel run across our path as she is a giraffe in a zoo. It’s a free, healthy activity that requires nothing more than a few hours of clear sky to enjoy.
It’s also surprisingly stimulating to her imagination. She treats even a simple walk along the river as if we are journeying to the Misty Mountains of Middle-Earth. Fallen logs are dangerous creatures to be avoided, snarly vines are traps set by witches to impede our progress. A few days ago we came across this large green rock. I’m not sure what anybody else sees, but for the next twenty minutes my four year old told me an epic tale of a heroic night that had been turned into a gigantic frog by an evil wizard.
I would have been a little happier if she hadn’t found it necessary to kiss the rock, but other than that it was awesome.