Roy Gilbert

The Joys and Drawbacks of Rural Life

Sabetha, Kan.

Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo/Moment, via Getty Images To the Editor: Re “ The Return to Rural America ,” by Sarah Smarsh (Op-Ed, Sept. 19): Five years ago, after my husband died, I gave up my apartment in Queens and moved to our summer retreat in the Thousand Islands, in upstate New York close to the Canadian border. As a liberal Democrat living in Trump country, I have had a lot of time to reflect on what it means for one like me to live in rural America. While xenophobia and prejudice do exist here, it is far from the total picture. In our small village I see rainbow flags on people’s front porches. In the Presbyterian church that I attend, the pastors talk weekly about the biblical injunction to “welcome the stranger.” We have gay friends living together openly as part of the community. What unites us is more than what divides us. When my Amish next-door neighbors lost a child in a tragic farm accident, I saw our community mobilize to a degree unimaginable in a city. I see daily spontaneous acts of love and service done without a second thought. And then there are the sunsets, the wild animals, the nearby hiking trails, the crazy natural beauty. If I am honest, I do sometimes yearn for the cultural vitality and diversity of the city. Life is complicated. Let us avoid putting each other in boxes and categories. Evelyn Saphier Hammond, N.Y. To the Editor: Sarah Smarsh talks of the […]

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