I grew up a country girl. A half mile separated our house from the closest neighbor, whom we could only see across the slough during the winter months when the trees were bare. I remember after a snow day how many of my "town" friends would talk about how they went sledding or skating.
For me, a snow day meant we didn't leave, because we simply could not. Summer evenings were spent the same as my days, hanging out at home trying to pass time until my next sacred trip into town. Life was pretty simple.
My husband and I tried living in the country with the kids. A beautiful rambler on an acre lot adjacent to farmland, just a few miles out of town. We had two decks, a treehouse and wild raspberries growing in the back. An acre doesn't sound like much, but with all the trees it took three hours to mow the lawn, on a rider. Snow days were similar to when I grew up, family time. In fact, I'll never forget when the interstate closed and our road didn't get plowed out for two days. I told the kids they were not allowed to run, jump, use scissors or eat grapes. The last thing we wanted was an emergency.
It was peaceful out there, when we weren't hustling to get yard work done or planning for our next "trip to town."
My most favorite thing to do was drink coffee and look out into the back, nothing but a field.
I did have a few nightmares thanks to some scary movies involving corn fields, luckily most years they planted beans.
After our kids became more involved in sports and the trips back and forth became cumbersome, we started to consider moving back into town. That was a tough decision for me. Except for when I was in college, I had never lived in town and swore my kids would grow up like I had. But once our third child was on the way, I knew it was time.
As I write this I'm sitting in my driveway as my youngest rides his trike up and down the sidewalk. The neighbor next door is checking her mail. I hear the sounds of the busy street just a few blocks away, and if history proves itself, the hospital helicopter will fly over sometime in the next hour.
I see a few birds hopping from tree to tree and I wonder what they are doing here in town. Do they feel there are conveniences in the city that make it worth living here as well? Just a short flight away and they'd be living in a much more serene environment. Maybe they sacrifice the peaceful country as a tradeoff for less wild predators in town. And the rabbits. Can we talk about the rabbits? What are they doing here and why in the world would they want to play "chicken" all day with oncoming traffic?
Doesn't it make more sense for them to be out in the wild? Yet, in the wild they would have coyotes to worry about. Or, bored country boys with bb guns shooting at them. Our oldest sure misses his daily hunting excursions in the country where anything and everything was his target.
But, now my kids are city kids. Sure we live in a quiet cul de sac, but I can still see what my neighbor is watching on TV in his garage. Most stores are no more than two stoplights away and I can get to all three of the kids' schools and our office in less than 5 minutes. With our busy lifestyle, these conveniences are a luxury to me, most of the time.
As I look up I see the clouds. The same clouds that pass over the country, and the city. In random patterns and designs they are constantly changing, moving, morphing. Kind of like people I guess.
Kind of like this country girl, now living in the center of the city. Happy to be where I am, but always curious as to what the next change will bring.