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Value in rural life is more evident during natural disasters.

Brent Murphree, Content Director

February 14, 2022

2 Min Read
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Shortly after the ice was gone, the sound of chainsaws clearing downed trees filled the area as residents got out and did what needed to be done to clear the damage.Brent Murphree

We sat out the recent ice storm with very few inconveniences. It's not that we were so well prepared as much as we just happened to be fortunate.

Having lived most of my life on the farm, I was struck by how dependent urban communities are for almost every step they take. Out here in rural Tennessee shortly after the ice was gone, the sound of chainsaws clearing downed trees filled my area as residents got out and did what needed to be done to clear the damage.

For that matter, while the ice was still coming down, about a mile down the road several farm trucks were out clearing a large tree that had fallen over the roadway. In rural areas, many times if you want to get something done, you just have to do it yourself.

In my county, the emergency crews were ready when things happened. Power was restored quickly - many times before the storm was over - and fallen trees were removed from the roadway.

While I am writing this, my power provider is reporting that there is only one customer out of power in this service area.  In the Memphis metro area, there are currently more homes and businesses out of power than the number that my rural provider serves.

In urban Memphis, two days after the storm 84,000 homes and businesses were out of power. On the Monday after the storm 66,000 electric customers were still in the cold.

I understand that urban communities are full of people that are much more dependent on infrastructure and any number of networks for things like power, food and transportation. But, the utter helplessness of many of the people that were featured in news stories following the storm is simply astounding to me.

When the urban system ceases to function, people are dangerously susceptible. The balance is delicate and nature can take a substantial toll.

I've usually had a place to go if the urban system has failed. The farm has always been the backup plan for me if something went wrong. We were able to weather most storms, floods or system disruptions. It wasn't always easy, but it seemed that we were better able to adapt and made things work.

It seems so dehumanizing to have to rely on the system to resolve issues after a natural event like the ice storm. I believe we were made to work hard and have been endowed with the strength to endure most of the things that come our way. It doesn't always work that way in town.

It's sad that the very system that helps so many people in the good times, creates so many victims during the bad.  

I believe there is more value in the rural way of life than just the products we provide to the urban areas.

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