Sunday, July 13, 2008

Open Minded

The thing with a small town is that you can never really know just what you've gotten yourself into. Every small(er) town has unique qualities that, along with its inhabitants, define its very essence. Its not uncommon for small communities to be based around a trade. The midland plains of the U.S. are peppered with these capsules of time, akin to a walk down memory lane, most of them are centered around farming and agricultural professions. Logan, Utah - a growing settlement with a population of just under fifty thousand - happens to be one of these towns. Its defining attribute being that its also home to one of the states' finer universities. As a result Logan is a stark but interesting contrast of the educated and simple-seeking. Those who have seen and done and ultimately chose to retire to a more unassuming way of life. Amidst various complaints of its minimal shopping, small-minded religious fanatics, and unreliable snow removal services (complaints often hurled at small-towns that remain unnoticed in large cities) there is a peacefulness to Logan, encouraged by its more refined residents, that might otherwise be ignored. Those of us that might be too quick to judge Logan by its slow-moving, if archaic, pace would be sadly mistaken. The remarkable thing with Logan, and many other small towns, is that it tends to unfold for its residents in ways that a larger, impersonal city cannot. One might be reminded of Edward Abbey's belief that "You can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamn contraption and walk." In the same spirit a small town can quickly make a surprising impression on its visitors but only if they express the willingness to be impressed upon. In that respect we might all do well to be a little more open minded.

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