Stillness by the mountain

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If you've moved from a small town to a big city, we're sure you're going to identify with Berta's blog. Growing up, all she wanted was to leave the small town where she lived. But now that she studies in Utrecht, she has a newfound appreciation for the calm and simplicity of the place.

Growing up in the same town under the mountain, it was all I knew. Its immensity was suffocating, debilitating as the possibilities were endless. People were scary, the fear of the neighbour was absolute because I had no escape. This town was all I knew, and thus I was strangled by the facticity of being tied to it for what I thought would be forever. The winding stone paths, the ropes with hung clothes, and the rotten wood benches were all a bittersweet reminder that I would stay there forever. Childhood built a fictitious wall around the town: I never thought I would leave, and my life within the bounds of the town was all-encompassing.

But years went by, and the truth of the ticking of time became apparent. I was granted a scholarship to spend a year in Canada, and I took it. That new town became another home soon enough, but I vividly remember arriving back in my town under the mountain. The sun shone often, and there was a cinematic glimmer that made me believe I was living inside a postcard.

After that, I decided to go to university abroad, where I also grew fond of the city and became comfortable in it. However, going back to the town under the mountain, I was speechless because of its beauty, and the way that it had not changed at all. I felt that I could live here forever, but was always reminded of the duties I had abroad. In my day-to-day life, wherever I have lived, I have been attracted to TV shows that take place in the same town or city. I am convinced that this is because of how much I have moved around: I need a sense of stillness. That is provided by constancy, which I always get when I go back home.

Becoming an adult has meant coming to terms with the fact that, no matter how enchanted I feel by the town under the mountain, I could not live here long term as an adult. And that is okay, I tell myself. Because I will always have the same feeling when I come back every couple of months. A feeling that I am isolated from bigger issues and concerns, a feeling that here, in the town under the mountains, we can live the life that we want. What was once intoxicating because of its repetitiveness, suddenly became a reminder of a simpler period of my life. It became enchanting because of the way that the town stayed the same. I can still see the same tree in the mountain from my window, and I know that a past me once thought I was trapped. Instead, now I feel trapped by constant waves of change and innovation. The town of stone has now become my forever dream.

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