maya angelou on the city soul and the country soul

a few days ago i learned about maya angelou’s theory about people having a country soul or a city soul):

interviewer: with all the success that you’ve achieved, you could live anywhere that you want, but you choose to live here in north carolina. why?

maya angelou: there is a city soul and there is a country soul. i believe that a city soul could be born on top of the great smokies, but when she sees the city she says, snaps finger “this is where i was meant to be!” and a country soul could be born on times square, but when he sees that country he says “ahhhh, here we are.” well i am a country soul, it is my nature.

this makes a ton of sense to me. i was born (more or less) in the country. ican totally pick out people from my hometown who all grew up with me but, like me, are country souls. when i got to boston, i had exactly the feeling angelou describes. and now that i’ve been in the city for almost ten years and have also visited other cities, it’s pretty clear to me that i’m a city soul.

that said, i’d like to add a thought to the city soul country soul dichotomy. my thought, based on my experience, is that just because you’re a country soul doesn’t mean you can’t get something from being in a city. the same is true of the reverse. i know for my life, what i’d like to work out is a balance between my city life and my country time. the city may be my home, but i definitely need country time. it helps rejuvenate me and keeps me grounded in nature cycles. i can think of at least one country soul for whom visiting the city has a similar effect. it energizes them and makes connections for them about life that they hadn’t seen before. but, for both of us, it’s clear where we’re meant to spend the balance of our time.



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