My Long-Standing Love Affair with Cities

I’m a city girl at heart and I’m not really quite sure how that happened. I grew up in a rural area and I loved it. The blue haze of the mountains in the distance, the green hills that went on forever, the creek with pockets of clay along the banks, the river with the lazy ankle-kissing rapids. I wouldn’t have traded a minute of it. There was never a point where I sat brooding over pictures of cities. I never created a countdown marking the days until I was free to leave and make my home elsewhere. I’m not sure I even knew I was so in love with all that concrete and steel and glass and brick until I found myself in the mist of it.

Shortly after college I moved to the suburbs of Washington, DC. While I learned quickly that my heart was not in the suburbs, I relished my weekend trips into the city. I loved the click of my heels on the Metro platform; the ding signaling the doors closing, the whir of the train as it whizzed through tunnels. The soaring ceilings of the stations and the hop and jolt of tall escalators made me smile in anticipation of the crowded streets above. I took my place among the shoppers and diners and errand runners and I felt energized. Part of something larger than myself; somehow simultaneously anonymous and infinitely connected. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Fransisco, Denver, Seattle, London, Rome, Glasgow, Dublin; no matter the city the feeling is always the same.

As cities go Richmond isn’t the largest or most bustling. It’s no New York; not even DC. But it is the city in which I have the privilege of walking the concrete sidewalks daily, past brick buildings and steel posts, my reflection bouncing off panes of glass. It is the city that offers up its own unique energy. That both excites and frustrates; which frequently seems to offer all or nothing at all.

Yet as juxtaposed as it can be, there is still the love.

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