Benefits of Country Living

| 4/13/2012 8:47:26 AM

Tags: country living, benefits, camping, forest, swimming, Robert Maxwell, Robert Maxwell,

 For as long as I can remember, my city relatives have asked the same question whenever they drive to my rural home for a visit:

“What is there to do here?” When I was thirteen, I didn’t know how to answer. For a while I even believed what the question implied - that life in the country is a drag. In the eight years since then I’ve corrected my opinion, and come to realize that rural living involves much more fascination than I could convey in a one sentence answer. 


In the summer of 2004, my cousin David travelled with our grandparents from their big city home to my place — a seven hour trip — to visit the Manitoulin Island branch of the family. I’m sure they were glad to get out of the car and stretch their legs, but it wasn’t long before David asked me the typical question: “What is there to do around here?” Neither of us knew it at the time, but the week’s events would cause my cousin to abandon that question for good.  


That first night we slept in a four-person tent my Dad set up in the front yard. This seemed pretty ordinary to me, since I’d done it dozens of times before. For David, it was a totally new experience, and he loved it. The idea of being able to camp on your own land was completely foreign to him, since the poor guy lived on a city lot with hardly enough room to walk, let alone set up a tent. We rose before the sun the next morning, grabbed a couple of hunting knives and a bow and arrows, and headed out to my favourite spot on the property — a small patch of exposed limestone bedrock along one side of a field that I call “Bowcamp”. I’d discovered it several days earlier, and couldn’t wait to share it with my cousin. We spent the day trying to hunt, then settled for roasting apples we’d picked from nearby trees. Bowcamp certainly wasn’t remote, (we were never more than 300 yards from the house), but something about it awoke the wilderness adventurer in my city-dwelling cousin. To this day, whenever Dave and I get together, the conversation always turns to our boyhood adventure at Bowcamp. 

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