Cottage life and camping out has it charms, but the magic of returning to the city is that city life is varied and complicated.
I’ve been thinking about this as summer comes to an end and the cottage season is closing, ruminating over what I miss most about the city, the experiences not offered on northern lakes.
In the city one runs into friends and acquaintances unexpectedly on the street or on transit. It’s a random contact, and that makes it invigorating, reminding each of us that our lives have many sides and angles that we often forget about until these events occur. City life makes us more well-rounded than we could ever have expected from the simplicities of a cottage holiday.
And there’s a joy to just standing on a busy street and watching people pass by with their styles, manners and poses. People really do care about how they look, and it’s amazing how many ideas there are on the best way to present yourself.
The north offers the profusion of the natural world, but in the city one’s eyes are opened to the marvellous differences in human imagination, from some woman’s careful coiffure, a teen’s studied sloppiness, the suited uniform of some men, to the fashioned stylishness of a 30ish couple.
Think of the food the city offers and the variety of bursting flavours. The tanginess of Vietnamese vermicelli with Asian basil; a really good burrito; fresh sushi with a touch too much wasabi; a rich Indian curry with mango chutney; honeyed Korean meats; fresh pasta with a light sauce. It is only in cities that one’s palate can be satisfied with this kind of variety.
There’s a refreshment about spending a few weeks outside the city, but perhaps that’s because of the reward at the end of it — getting back to the city’s infinite variety. Sure, the end of holidays means a return to the hum-drum of working life with its deadlines and challenges, but the best part is it means a return to all the city has to offer.