Saturday, March 7, 2009

When the lights go down in the city

It's been a long day, and one that confirmed the success of this year's conference, for which I was partially responsible.  There's a sense of relief that whatever happens tomorrow, we've got the numbers that tell the story.  The hard part is over, and now it's just the cleaning up.

Looking out of my penthouse suite onto the flat, seemingly infinite lights of the city of Dallas and its suburbs, I think about my lifelong attraction to cities.   Their energy, their people, their institutions, their compact effervescence -- it's always drawn me.  I've never lived in a city -- only in suburbs and towns.   But when I take a vacation, I like to go to cities.  Public transportation, street-level shops, the grid plan -- they all speak to me of the overflowing vitality of humanity packed into an urban setting.

I love my Arkansas town that allows me to live next door to where I work, that puts schools within walking distance of my house, that places services a five-minute drive away.  But there's a city girl deep within me who would give it all up to live in a walk-up and shop at a corner market, eat ethnic food a few blocks away, decide to take a subway uptown to a movie or downtown to a show.  Everytime I go to a place where I see the lights and the skyline stretching away into the distance, I dream the city dream. 

It may be just as much of a fairy tale as the Disney stories Cady Gray loves, but I cherish it.  Somewhere in between my fantasies and the urban reality lies a city where I could live a different life -- more sophisticated, more adult, more significant than the one I have now.

2 comments:

Eric B. said...

I love Boulder Colorado for it's compromise between gentle small town and active city. The outdoors are ever present and welcoming. The university brings a fair number of cultural and academic activities that impress. And best of all the mass transit makes getting where you want pretty easy without a car.

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Kerry said...

Donna, darlin, don't you know? Your life is very significant. The individuals that you touch in your role as an educator ripple through the rest of our lives. Your words continue to motivate me as I try to make it in my career, five years after you said them (words you probably don't even remember saying). When I imagine the person I hope to become in the future, I always think of you.