Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Conversion

The boy and the dog and I were playing in the yard last night as the hub was building shelves in the barn. We shot a few hoops, walked back to see the retired racehorse who lives behind us, explored the mysteries of the mini-thicket separating our property from his pasture as huffy goldfinches flitted over our heads and gave us what-for. We studied an iridescent garden spider that has taken residence in the window well. We played keep-away within the graceful bowing branches of the willows. We chased, played ball, tumbled in the cool dew of the grass. The streaks of early autumn clouds above us changed from white to golden, cantaloupe, papaya, and plum in the denim sky. As I threw the slobber-soaked tennis ball in a game of fetch during a downtime spell, the boy interrupted his own bark-picking and bug-studying to run over and give me a tackling hug and deliciously sweet kiss on my cheek.

Not long ago I had an interstate backing up to my yard, and the din of motors, sirens, and jake-brakes went unnoticed. We lived in a typical suburban neighborhood, similar houses placed 30 feet apart, convenient to shopping, banking, and entertainment. We lived in the court part of a court-style street, and chatted with neighbors from our porches. We all watched each others’ backs. Up the road lived my mother-in-law, in the house where my husband grew up. Further up the road were once high-end apartments that had since gone Section Eight. Addresses from that block were regular features in the Police Report section of the suburban newspaper. There is now a brand new Walgreens on the corner where that nice night club used to be. We used to go there for drinks and dancing on 80’s Night when we were first married. Someone was murdered there a few years ago, and six months later it closed down.

The hub and I both had lived in the city our whole lives. I myself had lived in various points of the suburbs, on the campus of our Big 10 university, and in the virtual heart of downtown, and felt comfortable and at home in each. The urban racket surrounding me was soothing, and a part of who I was. I liked it.

I now often see more deer than I do people. I walk an acre to get my mail rather than simply reaching out the front door, and in addition to just a driveway, neighboring houses are separated by alfalfa, soybean, and cornfields. The sound of a motorized vehicle whizzing by out front is an oddity, except during the fall harvest when farm equipment regularly lumbers back and forth. The dog has been sprayed by a passing-through skunk in our back yard. Twice.

I wasn’t sure if I’d adjust well to country living, but I now can’t see myself ever returning to the city to live. The hub and I are cozily content. The boy is growing up in a clean, safe, big sky, close to nature, close to God place.

I love country life.

Except for the de-skunking part.

9 comments:

martie said...

A perfect place to raise a boy and a dog...except for the de-skunking part. Thanks again for the receipe for de-skunking....btw, how's the finger doing?

naive-no-more said...

Both city and country life have their respective advantages and disadvantages, but I'd choose a life in the country any day. Sounds like a perfect fall evening to spend with the fam! I'm happy for you.

McSwain said...

I so, so hear you. I moved out of the city to the 'burbs for my boy, and I'd like to move him even further out. The little ones change your perspective, don't they? How old is your boy?

Lori said...

Wow...your home and mine sound so much alike! I'm a "returner" to the country life. I lived on a farm until I was 11, moved to a tiny town of 500 through my high school years, then after my college graduation (from a small, liberal arts college) lived in a town of 50,000 - just a nice size. Coming back to the country has had its adjustments, but I love it, for the most part. There are still some things I miss about city/town life....but I've learned that happiness comes from other places besides your address.

clew said...

Martie - it's just about healed, and my shoulder is almost not sore anymore - thanks for asking :)

NNM - SANKS! We loved it!

Cheryl - My boy is just shy of 2, and is he a pistol! :D A million laughs a day.

Lori - You are SO right :)

Bainwen Gilrana said...

I'm jealous. I hate living near a city. The 'burb I'm in is relatively far out, but every day the new overpriced subdivisions creep closer, unfortunately.

I'd rather have the real trees than the streets named after trees.

JenCB said...

I can't wait to visit the next time I'm home. It sounds divine.

Rebecca said...

I'm openly envious... I now live in the outer fringes of the country, and to this city girl - it's a slice of heaven. I would LOVE to go further into the country, but the call of work at this stage of the game - prevents us from going too further into it. But maybe someday...

Nicole said...

I agree...living in the country is fantastic.

I love that I can stand outside and see nothing but grass & trees & nature. I love that I can look up at the sky and not have it criss-crossed by powerlines. Not much here in Maine could be considered fast paced, maybe Portland south, but where we are & the people that you run into here...it's pretty great.