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Distant Storms — By John Reed

Distant Storms
I had occasion to step outside the other evening, and was greeted by the usual night sounds around my place: crickets, frogs, a distant owl. The nearly full moon was rising in the southeast, and in the distant north, a great thunderstorm was lighting up the northern horizon.
Someone somewhere was getting heavy weather. Great flashes lit up the clouds every few seconds, megavolts of power casting back and forth. But because of the distance, it all happened in eerie silence.
We seem to miss most of the heavy weather these days. Other parts of the country, especially the cities, seem to be focal points for all the thunder and lightning Man and Nature can bring upon them. Many people see our rural isolation as a fault: but to me it’s a blessing.
To be sure, we’re not immune to societal or economic tempests. But I think our sparseness provides strength. Any farmer will tell you their greatest ally is their neighbor the next farm over. We help each other because we know if we don’t, no one else will. And the next time disaster strikes, it could be us.
We don’t have all the services a city provides that act like a safety net. City dwellers don’t worry about a broken pipe: the building manager will deal with it. Run out of gas? Take a bus or subway. As a result, urbanites develop dependency on the institutions rather than on people.
As a result, when the storms do come, we weather them while they suffer them.
Here, we rely on each other in ways city folk would find incomprehensible. We talk to our neighbors. Sometimes we yell at each other. But because it’s just us, eventually we find common ground. Sure, we’re not perfect, but no society is. But we’re getting better, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other.

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