I grew up in a rural area of north central Maryland. My family and I lived down a gravel road, about a half mile off the main route. Excellent for long bike runs--sometimes if I could get the right speed I could even go airborne...for one brief moment I was flying like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. We had soybean and corn fields around us. The neighbors cows would sometimes escape and later be found munching on our yard,their hoof prints leaving evidence that they had indeed been there. Our neighbors had several fresh water ponds that we went swimming in. As a child it didn't matter to me that I was swimming with snapping turtles, fish, and an occasional water snake....or that when I went to get out of my bathing suit I had about a pound of silt that I had to dump out of it. Aaahhh.....the pleasures of the country life. The summer I was 12 my cousin, Russ, spent time at my house with my family because his mom and dad worked and so during the day he and I hung out. I have a memory of the two of us (12 and 13 respectively) sitting cross legged on top of the backyard picnic table. We were discussing the neighbor's big farm house....how wouldn't it be cool if we could buy the house and both our families could live there and we'd have all that land and it would be fun? Planning our futures made us hungry so then we'd go inside and eat some Chef BoyRDee Raviolis. (I know it's not great cuisine, but I have to admit, I still like them!) I also remember tramping through the woods and my sister and I and our next door neighbor friend making "forts" outside. We would play outside for hours. It was great being a kid!
After I graduated from college my first job was as a teacher in a rural, mountain area of Tennessee. Small town life....where everybody knew your name. Literally. There was a real sense of community and I enjoyed it. One of my favorite memories was a local talent show at the school I taught at. The whole community turned out and it was such fun!
After a 17 year sabbatical in the city, I am ready to be back in the country again. I feel like I've come full circle....and I have to say I'm glad.
The past couple of evenings I've enjoyed sitting out on the front porch watching the deer in the field, the ground hog scamper across the road. I watched the sun set and the sky darken as I listened to the birds singing in the grass and heard dogs barking in the distance. We don't live very far from a rail road track and I heard the train as it went by too.
Sometimes folks who have lived in the country their whole life, take some of the "country living" beauty for granted...which is understandable...when you are in it everyday it might not seem all that special--it's just life....But for this girl who longed to be back in the country....I don't think it will ever get old. The people, the beauty, the peace and quiet. Aahhh.....