I live in Bryant, Arkansas, a city that’s always growing. As we speak there’s construction going on in several places. A Dunkin Donuts is adding it’s finishing touches before it’s grand opening sometime this month. A small Chinese restaurant is adding an expansion to their place. Those are just to name a few that I can remember seeing on my daily commute.
Our city’s population is almost 17,000. Our school district has a population of over 9,000 kids and growing each year. This year they built a new High School and a new Elementary School.
When my grandparents moved into this house in the sixty’s it was, what they called, a bedroom community; there was nothing but houses here. There was also a lot of woodland areas. Several years had gone by and a few few fast food chains had moved into the city. Within the last fifteen years a Wal-Mart was built, followed by a Target with a Starbucks, another Starbucks in the same parking lot as the Target with a Starbucks, Best Buy, a Kohl’s, Old Navy, then any fast food place you can think of…seriously! Not to mention the many housing division that was built during this time also.
The sad thing about expansion is cutting down the trees and clearing out the woodland areas that houses the animals. There’s still a small acreage of wooded area behind my grandparents house where small animals live. I’ve come to recognize these animals that live there myself in the short time that I lived here with my grandma. Occasionally I will hear, see, or smell these animals. Yes, smell, there’s skunks living in there. I’ve heard an owl a few times late at night. I’ve heard woodpeckers many times during the day. I’ve seen tarpins (a type of turtle), rabbits, even a panther once (though I’m sure she lives elsewhere). I’ve even seen a pair of young bucks walking around my back yard; I’m sure they were passing through. There’s also a family a red foxes that lives in the woods in the backyard.
Every once and a while I will see that family of red foxes. Last night however, I heard one as it was crying or calling, whichever it’s called. It woke me up. One thing I’ve noticed as I became a mother is that I’m a light sleeper, so just about anything wakes me up. So when I heard the fox calling out last night my first reaction was that it was my daughter. It took me a few seconds to realize what it really was. I laid there listening to it crying out.
I spent part of my youth living on a farm. I miss the country, the outdoors, the fresh air, the wide open space, the animals, the trees. Just hearing that fox made me feel like I am living in the country, even though I’m not. I’ll give it another fifteen years before all the surrounded woodland areas are gone, exchanged for more houses, stores, and fast food chains.