The idea of retreating to

The idea of retreating to the “country” (e.g. not the city nor the suburbs) is extremely sound in our popular imagination.
I was recently caught purchasing a copy of the nicely designed Country Living magazine, which showcases home decoration, gardening, and cooking for the country set lifestyle. The magazine is replete with antiqued (not antique) furniture, old fashioned looking kitchenware, wallpaper that looks like it came out of a landfill, and comfort food filled with meat. It’s all beautiful, but why?
While the U.S. used to be an agrarian economy, I believe only a few percent of people live and work on a farm. “Tools” are now computers, “land” is now property, and “work” is now typing and hauling. Our desire to capture the agrarian lifestyle of our Protestant ancestors is telling us something: We desparately want to slow down. We are dying of thirst for quiet and solitude. We want to make things ourselves. We wish we had a community to hold our hands. We long for the days when everything was neat and tidy, even though pre-industrial folks lived until 42.
Gee, I’d be almost dead.
There are many other examples of this countryfied living, if you’re interested. Pottery Barn is brilliant and showing beautiful country objects d’art. They call it “modern country.” Real Simple is just that: simple things for simple people. And Martha does a grand job of shepherding us through the travails of country living. More about her later.

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