In the big scheme of things, the entirety of San Saba County is considered to be sparsely populated. We are considered to be VERY rural along with being remote and isolated. Now, those of you who have spent any time west of here are thinking "What???" But those of you who have lived East of here, especially along the East coast, know why we have those demographic labels.
A couple of decades ago, there was a very clearly defined distinction between being urban and being rural. Urban people had one way of thinking and behaving based upon living in close proximity to lots of other people and having access to more media, services, education, and businesses. Rural people had another way of thinking based upon living in very uncrowded conditions and having very limited access to media, services, education, and business. Urban people’s work and income was usually dependent on complex layers of business while rural people’s income was based more directly on nature.
Currently, with the help of cable television, telephones, cell phones, internet, the postal service, UPS, and FedEX, those distinctions have all but disappeared. Add that almost all of us have a vehicle enabling us to transport ourselves to the city whenever and as often as we please, taking away most of the rest of the differences. There are still a few major differences between being urban and rural—the most glaring example being health care. The internet and the UPS man cannot rescue us from a medical emergency or needing help delivering a baby. People living in close proximity to a hospital still have an edge over rural residents in that department.
While I love the conveniences of modern life, I have to admit that all this distinction-blurring has left me confused and irritated. Let me share a few examples so you can be confused and irritated, too. Pull up at any of the area schools in the afternoon and see who comes out of the door—it will be a bunch of urban kids!! They look, dress, and behave just like kids from any big city. Think about the comments you hear about rain and lack of rain. Urban people like for it to rain a little here and there to keep their landscaping and the golf course watered, but would like to outlaw rain on the weekends and most of the summer when it would spoil their plans. Rural people pretty much love rain any time they can get it, especially in this part of the world. With all the rain we have had lately, I have heard way more complaints in San Saba County than sighs of relief. And how about the rural reputation for being friendly and neighborly? I have had better luck with that in New York City and Chicago than in any of the rural areas or small towns I have lived in over the years.
I surely do not mean to suggest that it is all negative. Around here, we still are a lot more safe and secure than we would be in a big city. I say "around here" because rural areas in other parts of the country have not been so fortunate. Big city violence and property crimes have been on the rise in rural areas. People are much friendlier here than they are in the big cities in Texas, especially after they get to know you. It is pretty nice to be able to do business without giving everything just short of a blood sample to prove your identity!
I have noticed that many urbanites would give their right arm to live like we do—in a small town or in the country, with a slower pace of life and uncrowded conditions. Meanwhile, the country people get to live the rural life every day and sprinkle in as much or as little urban influence as we desire. In my humble opinion, we are the fortunate ones. I just wish more people shared my opinion! SpringCreekArtsGuild@gmail.com.