There are many reasons to take up residence in the countryside. Though I grew up on a small farm, I moved to the big city after high school and remained there for 20 years. I always wanted to return to rural surroundings, and the final push was occasioned by a billboard that went up downtown, just a few blocks from work, advertising an "adult" telephone service for an unfortunate demographic of men who have given themselves over to a ghastly perversion. Now then, how was I supposed to explain this to my young, homeschooled children who were keen on interpreting images and who could read every word? We moved as quickly as possible to what is arguably the most conservative rural county in the entire state (competing with Modoc for the honor, to be fair) - not far from that little farm where I grew up.
Despite the negative motivation in my case, there is much to love about rural and small-town life. At present the only sounds outside my door are chickens, a slight breeze, and the engine noise of a far-away piece of farm machinery. Two Sundays ago, the boys and I spent a couple of hours before church shooting clay pigeons in the pasture out back. The children practice their music outside and the neighbors don't complain. Last night I took a walk with the children up and down the length of our short country road without being passed by a single automobile. I discovered that there is a remote tree on the property I had never touched, but the children informed me that once they had touched it, because they made a pilgrimage to the great shrine of Fatima, and the tree was the shrine!
And yet, Plato's words convict: "Who lives outside the city is either a beast or a god."
We escape his condemnation only because so much of our lives are connected to the city one way or another. This is true of virtually all rural-dwellers today. The country needs the city quite as much as the city needs the country. He who would champion agrarian life must also champion the city. And vice versa. There's no getting around it. My own admitted anti-urban prejudice is not due to the fact that cities exist, but that cities are not (in my opinion) what they should be. That means that I have a vision of what a city ought to be, and so do you, and so should we all.
With that, I encourage you to spend a few minutes of your leisure reading "The Soul and the City: The House of our Realities", a penetrating essay by Dr. Wilfred McClay that is well worth your time and thought. The best introduction is found midway through:
"The very idea of conservatism itself, far from being intrinsically anti-urban, has in the West always been inextricably bound up in the history and experience of a particular succession of great cities. When Russell Kirk wrote his celebrated book on The Roots of American Order, he could have chosen to present that history strictly in terms of unfolding structures of ideas. But instead, he built it around the central cities of the history of the West: Athens, Jerusalem, Rome, London, and Philadelphia. Each city was taken to exemplify a foundational stage in the development of American liberty and American order. This was not merely a literary conceit, like a metonym. The clear message was that such developments could only occur in cities. The very civilization that conservatives wish to conserve is rooted in such cities. It is no accident that the Book of Revelation aims at the creation of the New Jerusalem, not the New Tara Plantation or the New Mayberry. We should think about why this is so."