Having recently taken a trip to Ford, Washington (where I really grew up), 45 minutes away from any proper city, I was nostalgic when I came home. I hadn’t realized how much I missed the smell of hay in the fields, or deserted roads, or the true and utter silence that comes with living in the country.
I’m so happy to say I have the following 10 things under my belt.
1. Everything has more than one use. When you live 45 minutes away from the nearest retail store, you get pretty creative in order to save gas and time.
2. Well water is the best water. Bottled? Tap? Sparkling? No, thanks. Well water will always be my favorite.
3. There’s always room for one more. When a stray dog or cat shows up at your driveway, you don’t put out a bowl of food and wish it luck finding its way back home. You adopt it and make room for it to sleep with you in the bed.
4. Looks don’t matter as much as we think they do. Everyone in the country works hard on their property, so when you see someone in line at the small town Everything store wearing flip-flops caked in dust and dirt, you don’t question them. You just assume they have spent the day outside in the garden.
5. Sunsets and starry skies triumph over T.V. any night.
6. Goats are expert cuddlers. Each time I went into the barn with my grandma, I was greeted by a goat wanting snuggles. They came up to me, they leaned against me with all their body, and they stuck their nose in my face, nuzzling my neck. Sometimes they took a bite of my hair, but I learned to take that as a compliment. P.S. Goats also love Twinkies and donuts 🙂
7. Wildlife belongs in the wilderness. Each time I saw a deer in my grandma’s backyard, or in the fields at the sides of the driveway, I was always shocked. Same with seeing the porcupine, rattlesnakes, marmots, turkey, quail, and coyotes. In the city, you don’t see wildlife a lot, if at all. In the wilderness, I learned that wildlife belongs just where it is, and not in a zoo. Over the years, it has become incredibly depressing going to zoos and seeing the public tricked into thinking the animals are in some kind of paradise, in the process of being “rescued” and preserved. Truthfully, I would rather see an animal die in the wilderness (where it’s meant to), than save it in a zoo.
8. The people you meet in small towns are the best. Everyone looks out for each other – there’s no “me first” attitude. If you have a question, you go down to the town’s only market, ask the cashier, and she’ll ask 10 other people in town until she comes up with an answer. There’s always someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help you out. Plus, you’re supporting local people and local stores, not big chains with people working there with dollar signs in the place of eyes.
9. At the end of the day, you’ve earned a shower. Sure, we work hard in the city, too. But you will never really know what it is to work hard until you’ve worked in a field, helping to pick strawberries or peaches; mucked out a barn that reeks of old straw sodden with urine; helped dig fence post holes and set up an electric wiring around the perimeter; weed-eaten an entire pasture full of neck-tall prickly bushes; trimmed a goat’s hooves (that smell is unlike any other in the entire world); dug up your own pond’s hole, laying tarp down so that it covers the area in all the right spots, and lined it with bricks to keep from sinking in; and even after all that, you still have to put together dinner and do the nightly barn chores. When you take a shower at night before bed, oh man, you know that dirty water swirling down the drain was earned.
10. How spoiled I am in the city. You’re spoiled in a different way in the country. You get the best well water, you get to see the stars at night without the city lights getting in the way, and you live in complete privacy. In the city, you may share an apartment complex with 30-60 other tenants, but you’re closer to all of life’s conveniences: Taco Bell, Starbucks, gas stations, Target, WalMart, and even schools. You don’t have a long drive ahead of you like you do in the country. You don’t usually have to prepare for your house being flooded, or a loose goat outside the pasture. Or even worry about a bear coming up to your front door to eat the cat food you left out for the stray.
Have you ever lived in the country? What did you learn?