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My Green Acres

May 22, 2009

A couple of weeks ago my brother’s girlfriend was following me home from a wedding we had both been attending. She was coming over to spend the weekend, and seeing my home for the first time. As I drove, I found myself looking around at the passing scenery with a fresh eye, wondering what it must look like to someone who had never seen any of it before. What did it look like to that person? I thought. Did she notice that big yellow-painted rock, as I did every day when I drove past it? Was she impressed by the newly renovated high school that only cost, like, 400 million bajillion dollars? Would she note and drive carefully on the winding, curvy roads that I live on?

I grew up in a tiny brick ranch house in the middle of small-town Lynchburg, surrounded by other houses whose yards were bordered with chain-link fences and privet hedges. We had to be extra-vigilant about cars when crossing the street or playing ball, because our street was a common cut-through between two main thoroughfares. Two tall pine trees that separated our house from the neighbor on the left; it was in the branches of these that I used to settle with a book in the summertime, cradled in sticky sap and fragrant needles. The neighbor on the right was a mere driveway and tiny square of lawn away. My brothers and I would gather on the carport in the deepening dusk and watch Mr. Paul as he moseyed about his yard, tending to his shrubbery. He was close enough to hear and chuckle at our burping competitions.

Our home now is very different from the home of my childhood. If you look at it now, through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time, you’ll see that it’s still a ranch, but modified, with a big, welcoming country kitchen. Instead of being situated in the middle of town, it’s in the country. With lots of cows.  The fences are plank and the shrubbery is more likely to be forsythia and wild rose than privet hedge in most places.

Home sweet home.

Home sweet home.

 

Forsythia, potato flowers, wild iris, and wild rose.

Forsythia, potato flowers, wild iris, and wild rose.

Although the kids still play ball and climb trees, they’re more likely to be caught running through a field and climbing over hay bales than having playdates. There are really no children close by enough to have convenient playdates with–the one downfall to living in the country (aside from that well-water that turns my blonde hair green and having to drive twenty miles to get Anywhere). I love the farm, though–every last acre of ours, plus my in-laws’, too. Being able to go out in the yard and yell at the top of your lungs, or to send the kids out to play and not worry about them chasing a ball into traffic, listening to the sound of accelerating rev of cicadas on a late summer’s night…you simply can’t substitute things like this for the many conveniences and social niceties of town living.

Farm raised.

Farm raised.

 

Hayin' time.

Hayin' time.

These are the things that a guest will notice, I hope, when she visits my home for the first time. The freedom of space. Flowers blooming. Vegetables growing. Cows lowing. Kids running wild.

The bull.

No bull.

My Green Acres.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2009 9:26 pm

    Gorgeous photos you have here. I love where you live. I miss living like that. Miss it so much.

    Just a beautiful post.

  2. May 24, 2009 8:34 am

    Wonderfully penned. Your words remind me of living out in Summit Valley, a little slice of heaven nestled in the heart of the Huckleberry Mountains from a lifetime ago.

    http://teachinfourth.blogspot.com/2008/01/summit-memoir-summer-my-cousins-came-to.html

    I love your words; I was going to pick a favorite line, however, I simply cannot; there are far too many fantastic images conveyed through your post. Though I loved country living, I felt the pangs of social ineptitude as a result since the nearest neighbor with kids my age lived across the valley (cutting across wood, fields, and stream). I’ve since alleviated this little setback, but I do wonder how different life would have been if my family had stayed in California.

    By the way, your images are wonderful!

  3. May 24, 2009 1:52 pm

    Sounds like you are living the dream my husband and I envisioned for our kids when we first married. We did live a short stint in a small town called “East Carbon” but decided that it was not conducive to having more children (the only doctor within an hour’s drive was considered a quack by almost everyone. The next closest doctor we could trust was almost 2 hours away). But would I ever move back? In a heartbeat. Our backyard was the Bookcliff mountains. Rainstorms came through and left our world smelling of creosote, sage and juniper. Rhubarb grew wild and made the tastiest cobblers.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories!

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