Arizona is my home, more importantly my hometown is Lakeside, Arizona. I love the area that I come from; personally, I feel that you can’t beat the feeling that a rural community gives you. The ability that I had to just take off into the woods with my family or friends is something you can’t find anywhere else. I grew up in a world were evening and weekend barbecue’s were normal; where taking off on horseback for the day or weekend isn’t unheard of. My town facilitated having large families and get togethers with friends and family, this community isn’t an isolationist one but rather a place were you know that people love you. Growing up in rural America has helped to keep grounded in a life where I see things for what they are and what they can be. This is because of where I come from. Living here, you have the opportunity to really “see” the forest; the “seeing” that comes from living in the middle of the forest helps to remind me of how small I am in the grand scheme of things.
Most people wouldn’t think of a small town as being a great place to grow but I would strongly have to disagree with that. In a large city, you are a soul among millions of others, very few people know you are around. When it comes to school you are one student among thousands, getting the help you need is much harder to find. In a rural community there a fewer students to teacher and therefore the teacher has an idea of what you really need help with, or how certain students will better learn math.
Many times, I have heard that kids my age are bored up here because there is nothing to do, but this is absolutely wrong. From my front door, I can walk onto national forest land. There are trails to hike and places to explore at nearly every corner, all that has to be done is to go out and look for something to do and one could entertain themselves for days on end. Some of my favorite areas of my hometown and surrounding areas are found by just taking off with friends and family to explore the world around me. Sometimes we like to see if we can find a new area or, other times we just hang out to kill time in one of the parks. There is so much open land that anything you can imagine can be. Being raised where this notion of exploration amidst the support of adults that truly know us enable me to look to the future with excitement, confidence and a childlike wonder for the grandeur of the world.
There is a different type of education in the mountains too, here we are taught to care for one another strongly and help a classmate when they are down. There lies a very strong feeling of community because everyone knows everyone, in a small town, you’re all neighbors. I would have to say that my favorite part of growing up in rural Arizona is that I don’t have to listen to my neighbor’s radio or television. The best part is that I am allowed to escape, there are plenty of areas to find a quiet place, where I can think. This ability to reflect to think helps me to figure out who I am as a person and where I want to go in life. The thing I value most about my hometown is the ability to remove myself from the world in some quiet place to think, and the very strong sense of community that you find everywhere you go. Going to Friday night football games where the bleachers are packed by six thirty, people always seem to find room so everyone can have a seat. It’s that wave you get driving down the road from everyone, even if you don’t know who they are. Some of the most obvious ones I can think of though are when you see someone helping an elderly person in Wal-Mart. There is a large retirement community here in the summer, and that someone will help them unloaded their cart or reach an item on the top shelf. That is a moment when I see the most camaraderie, someone going out of his or her way to help another person. I have learned to expect this as well as deliver to others.
No matter where I move to be it New York City or in the middle of Wyoming, I will always feel that Lakeside, Arizona my home. This is where I was raised, this is where my memories are from, where I learned about living. That’s something you can’t ever replace, this is my home and I love it. For its perfection’s like being able to escape or knowing that a helping hand will find you if you need one, plus all of its imperfections. The sometimes very crowded streets or the uneducated populace that is very evident here; that’s the character of this area and that’s what makes it special. This place has its own heartbeat making it easy to love and so hard to forget. The fact the even if it’s only a visit, others feel they’re a part of this place; there is never the feeling of being an outsider. Such feelings show how tight knit this community is. I love it and it’s special to me for the open spaces, community feeling, and the heartbeat that it takes on. Everything I learned was here; from riding a horse to dancing, to going to my first school dance, this community, this town made all of my growing up possible and memorable.