Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Livin' in the Country


I just don’t think I could live in the city…………

There was a time in my youth when I really wanted to live in town. Growing up in the middle of nowhere didn’t have the appeal that it holds for me today. I wanted to socialize, to see and be seen, to cruise around, and see what was going on in town. I lived for Saturday nights and hanging out with my friends. (I still do, just not in town!)

I remember how much I loved going to college. Lincoln, Denver, Omaha, terrified me. The only place I could really find my way in was Rapid City so I went to college in Chadron! It wasn’t a big city or anything, easy to get around in and find things. (At that time I was quite intimidated of living in any place too big and hard to get around in).

I loved the convenience of going to the store to buy groceries, knowing if I forgot something I didn’t have to make a 50 mile trip back to town. It was great to see other people nearby, even if I didn’t know them. I never realized I was ever lonely but I guess I must have been.

Growing up in the country I had to be creative. Oh yes, I had imaginary friends of all kinds. I built forts and made the chicken cook into an outstanding play house. I rode my dirt bike everywhere and dreamed of how cool it would be to ride it on nice smooth streets in town. I had two very special friends as I was growing up, Annie and Jamie. Eventually Jamie and I were roommates at CSC and shared some wonderful, wild adventures that will never be published in this blog!

After college, I married and moved to a small town where Chad worked. We lived in town for 7 years, during which I experienced a major revelation~I missed being in the country. Now Maywood is not big, there are only about 300+ people living there, so it would probably be classified as a village. North Platte is the closest town and it is 30 miles to the north. The fact was that I couldn’t look out my window and see much other than houses, streets and cars. No matter how big or small the place is, concrete is concrete.

During those seven years, Chad and I scoured the area for a place to live. We wanted something big enough to run our cows and horses. It took a while but finally we found one that we’d driven by many times and dreamed about. When the land came up for sale at auction, Chad put in the bid and we got it! Happy Days! We didn’t realize at the time how much work it would take to create a place. We had land and that was it. There wasn’t a road, barn, house or any other building. There was no arena, to corrals and not a very good fence. We started from scratch. If we ever sell this place, it is likely that we will find something that already exists next time around, this was a hellofa lotta work!

So after 8 years of living in the country, I’ve only fallen more deeply in love with the land. Looking back it is hard to imagine that I ever wanted to live in town. I still shake my head at that one, although I do appreciate riding my bike on pavement. Even with thorn proof tires, city streets can be beat when it comes to a trek cruiser! On occasion I load the kids up and haul the bikes to town for a little change of scenery. It is kind of like a mini-vacation. We enjoy the ride and know that we’ll again return to the oasis of our country home.

It is mornings and evenings that I love the most out here. We have an amazing panoramic view from the deck. In fact most guests gasp when they see the view, which is mostly hidden by the house until you walk on the deck. I caught a lot of crap about the position that I wanted the house in and the direction it would face. I had sat out here on the hill for many months pondering how I wanted to wake up and which direction I wanted to see when I look out. We actually face northwest and our view is to the southeast from the sliding glass door in the kitchen. I knew that I wanted to wake up every morning and look out at the canyon. Its worked out very well too, in the summer when the sun is still up and hot, we can go below the deck and have a wonderfully shaded retreat. We’ve left the landscaping very natural in the backyard, it is excellent for sled riding and snowboarding. One of these we may tackle the forest that is our backyard but for now it remains “rustic”!

I took this picture looking off our deck in the morning hours. I am not a morning person by nature. I may be up but I don’t feel really alive and alert until about 10 am. I’d rather work late and sleep late. I can tell that living out here is changing that too. My treat for getting out of such a comfy, cozy bed is the view. I love it. No matter what is going on in my life, a hot cup of coffee and the view of the canyons can get move motivated to face the day. I get through the day knowing that an amazing sunset will be greeting me later on!

I forget sometimes about what I already have. In pursuit of all the things that I want to do here and experience I sometimes get lax about the simple blessings that are always here. I never want to take this view for granted. Sure I LOVE waking up in the mountains and smelling the pine trees. I enjoy hiking and being in different geographic areas, but this is home. After being here for 15 years, I finally feel like this is my place. The ranch still holds a special place in my heart, it always will, those roots run deep. And I can honestly say that this is where I enjoy being. I don’t think I would fare very well if I had to live each day in a city. I breathe a whole lot better without a lot of people around, without cars, houses and concrete everywhere. I still love socializing, I love visiting and seeing other people. I love to hang out and laugh late into the night with a campfire blazing and I really, really love my space, place and solitude. This is what grounds me. This is what allows me to do all that I do, to do what I am here to do and to experience the simple joy of living.

If you ever feel like you just need a place to get away, a place to reconnect to your soul and a place where you can just be, let me know. I have a lot of space…….. in the canyon! There’s something magical and mystic about being in the bottom of it. You are only a little way from the highway but it truly feels like a whole different world. I think these canyons were waiting for me. Lord knows I wasn’t looking for them or if I was I didn’t realize it. I sure am glad they found me and in turn, I have found myself.
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