Help set course of action for our ‘piece of heaven’
News flash! My husband and I have just realized we are, indeed, living in a little piece of heaven right here in Harrison County. We have always oohed and aahed about how beautiful and convenient it is to spend our days here, but we have now consciously compared the advantages here with those of places all around the world.
We have been watching a series on Netflix, the ‘Five Busiest Cities in the World: Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mexico City, Moscow and Delhi.’ On my real visits to all of them, I have found the bustling cities to be exciting and wonderful. As a tourist, I didn’t have to navigate the everyday chores of a permanent resident.
Well-planned large cities provide accommodations for most service and consumer needs within a four-block area. However, cities that grew up as demand dictated often find the residents need a vehicle to get to strip malls and grocery stores.
It is fascinating to see how people have adapted their lifestyle to accommodate a massive population and land limitations. All the cities in the TV series have long commutes in stifling traffic. The homes of the average person are small and crammed together. Ingenious structures were created to provide sleeping quarters for multigenerational housing or low-income workers. Noise and air quality are in many cases questionable. Expenses for utilities, food and rent are rather high in comparison to incomes.
Millions of families grow up in large cities such as these. They survive, have happy lives and contribute to society, but their options, while greater in some ways, are dictated by lots of people simultaneously trying to do a variety of things in a space that is minimal.
We also have been watching a program titled ‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes,’ also on Netflix, which shows what folks with many choices and deep pockets have built around the world. These homes are fabulous. The views of isolated rocky coasts, steep mountains and sandy beaches are splendid. Most of them are ‘holiday homes’ as they are far away from the congestion of the city. The owners have to live somewhere else where there are jobs and schools. Who knows how they get food and medical services. All that splendor and they can only inhabit them a few days out of the year. There were rarely people around when the TV hosts and camera crews arrived to film the program.
Don and I surveyed what we see every day in Southern Indiana: rolling hills, a big, active river, large and small homes sitting on acres of land or tiny yards as the owner or renter preferred and in-town parking spaces with no traffic jams. We can buzz to a new hospital in the matter of minutes, attend a city performance in half an hour, find a choice of wilderness trails for hiking or haul a small boat to the edge of water without a hassle.
We can join local artists for a play, musical performance or visual art display. Kids can attend good schools without high tuitions. A top-notch regional university, Indiana University Southeast, sits on the exit to the interstate highway that serves as our main corridor. The grocery stores and restaurants are up to date.
I am always reminded of a comment my brother made when he came home to wrap up our mother’s estate. ‘Wow,’ he said. ‘I did in one afternoon what it would have taken me weeks to do in my hometown of Carmel, Calif.’
I am not a Polly Anna when I say we are living in a bit of heaven here. I am aware that not everyone or everything is 100 percent tip-top in Southern Indiana. We have far too many drug difficulties, a lower income level than some other places and our job opportunities are more limited than more developed areas. And, we could improve the mental stimulation among our residents. But, folks, most things are up to us to decide.
Our options are almost endless if we explore the opportunities, ask for help, open our minds and eyes and get inspired and participate in activities and meet others.
We have recently driven S.R. 62 through Lanesville to New Albany. What a new world is developing in this area. New homes, active businesses and facilities in our ever-beautiful rolling hills. ‘New’ means much hustle and bustle on everyone’s part. How energizing are people on the go.
When we were raising our children, I would once in a while stop and reflect on the opportunities provided here to developing minds and bodies. It didn’t take me long to realize there were more experiences for growth than we could even take advantage of. Now, as a senior citizen, I also find we can’t keep up with all the opportunities available. The variety of engagements going on is stimulating. It will take all of us to determine the course of development in our area.
If two old folks can reawaken their senses and affirm that, yes, they live in a bit of heaven, so can outside developers. We need new and old participants to chart the preferred course of action for our future. Jump aboard.