Peterborough; An Ode to the Hometowns

If I spent every day crafting new memories in New York City, then I spent every day reliving old ones in Peterborough. I’ve had a significant amount of difficulty deciding how to chronicle my latest trip, and I considered writing another travelogue, like with America. I considered detailing each city I spent time in, and I debated writing an article for each of these experiences, to continue my desire to compile a list of memories. Listing off the small towns I visited would have produced enough articles for six days, and my writer’s block would have undoubtedly been healed faster if I had spent any amount of time trying to write about each city I passed through in these past six days, but I won’t.

There’s no need to.

I thought that each city would help me overcome my writer’s block, and I genuinely believed that I’d find inspiration to write – in a way I did – but the truth remains that there really is only one city that compelled me to create anything. In the past six days, only a single city – though it’s more appropriate to say a single county – inspired me to produce any amount of creative work: Peterborough, a city I spent two years living in ten years ago; Peterborough, a city I hadn’t visited in over five; Peterborough, the first city that I could genuinely call home in this native land.

Peterborough is an ode to the hometowns.

It’s a city where not knowing someone is impossible, and where it’s genuinely easier to find someone than it is to avoid them. It’s a city where gossip floats around the stratosphere for everyone to gather, but where everyone is amiable, amicable, and respectful, even to those they can’t stand. It’s a testament to the small-town mentality, where the children are brought up, raised, schooled, educated, grow up, and eventually leave, only to return when they’re older, wiser, and hopefully more experienced than when they left. It’s a city where the young leave, and the old return, often to never leave again. It’s a welcome home that’s protective of it’s people, but is never controlling – it’s easy to leave, and easy to come back under almost every conceivable circumstance.

Peterborough is a city of memories.

It’s a city where everything happens for the first or last time, but never for the last or first time. It’s home, in one way or another, for everyone who’s lucky enough to move through it even if they’re only there for a few days. It’s small enough to never get lost, but big enough that there’s always something to discover, and it’s a city that grows everyday. The concept of a city is usually the last step in economic evolution of a piece of land, but though it expands on a daily basis, it’s impossible to feel out of touch there. It’s not a relic of a different time, but a window that looks at the possibility of combining both yesterday and tomorrow in a way that’s both harmonious and compelling.

Unlike some of it’s neighbours, Peterborough manages to combine the impossible notion of the “Good ole’ days” with the startling economic growth that capitalism yields. The city doesn’t join together facetious old time charm with the culinary end of a strip mall, as some cities have often tried to do, but accepts that the times are indeed changing. Choosing to build yesterday and tomorrow into a single entity – instead of idolizing the rural past and fearing the capitalistic future – Peterborough accepts that it’s possible to find balance between old and new in a way that isn’t discouragingly bleak.

Peterborough is a city of environmental and ecological splendour.

It’s a city that’s surrounded by country, and land, lakes and rivers, and an amount of sky that is startling. Situated as the hub of Peterborough county, it’s surrounded by small town after small town, village after village, farm after farm after farm, and cottage after cottage. It represents a fascinating evolution of ideals acting as the urban centre of its rural surroundings. Willing travellers can spend a single day driving through three of four small towns found in and around Peterborough county; it’s entirely possible to have breakfast in Peterborough, go to Bobcayjeon out of boredom, have lunch in Buckhurst, and finish the day watching the sunset in Lindsay, Fennelon Falls, or Bridgenorth.

I’ve attempted to avoid sounding like an overbearingly cliche travelogue, but every story has to include cliche in one way or another. It’s not difficult to see why I love Peterborough and why it inspired me as much as it did; it has to do with finality. Peterborough marked a succinct end in a reasonable chapter in my life when I first moved there. When I left it marked the end of another, and now that I’ve gone back it once again marks another end. It’s illogical of me to correlate the city with every aspect of finality in my life, though it is reasonable for me to say that Peterborough is like home; no matter when I go back, no matter how long I stay, no matter what I do, and no matter who I may see I always feel like I belong.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!


    • HDK
    • September 1st, 2012

    Brilliant article on Peterborough truly captures the essence of the city!

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