There's much about city life that could be missed when going to the country for a retreat. There's a hustle and bustle in the city that brings an energy, a sense of being part of something bigger. You can equally feel connected and disconnected from it. Strangers walk quickly past and cyclists, buses, cars and trams make their way through busy streets and you're best keeping well out of their way.
The buildings stand erect and confident as if they've been there forever. Some have been there for a very long time, others not so long. Renovations to some are evident as you manoeuver your way through the steel bars of the scaffolds.
The city has smells that you won't find in the country. Apart from the unpleasant fumes from the vehicles, and the odd urine smell exuding from corners and laneways, there's the distinct food and coffee smells that attract you to the many cafes and coffee shops. Being spoilt for choice it can be difficult to decide which café to pick. Sometimes it's easiest to give in to the spruiker selling their wares, setting those apart from the others, saving you having to make the decision yourself. Sometimes there's a particular dish you can seek out, or perhaps a favorite coffee. It's hard to imagine that coffee can have so many flavors.
There are characters in the city who you might miss when on retreat in the country. Whether it's the juxtaposition of the homeless. who are visible sleeping in doorways in the earlier parts of the day or who seek "a dollar love" from you throughout the day and into the late night, or the "suits" all dressed up, males and females alike, lap top bags across shoulders or pulling small suitcases on wheels, hurrying to their next appointment. You're likely to be noticed more by the homeless person than the person in the suit.
Then, during holidays particularly, there's the families, parents with their kids, wandering rather aimlessly around the streets, sometimes looking at awe at the buildings and people. They'll often stop to look at the buskers lining the main streets and subways of railways stations. Usually these entertainers of the streets set a scene of entertainment mixed with desperation, as commuters and shoppers walk on by, largely ignoring them and their talents.
So there's much to miss about the city, its people, its charms and its underbelly. No doubt country life will bring its own characters and scenery. It might just take a different eye to notice its charms and delights.