Meandering In Country

The snow and ice coupled with the harsh wind blasting off the water makes for frigid nights here at the lake. We’d been trying to find firewood, not the small bundles at the grocery but FIREWOOD! Everyone selling ricks of wood had already been sold out for awhile now.

Last weekend, my husband, Clay, passed a sign, “wood for sale”, while driving back from Grey Summit late in the evening. The next day, we took off in that direction, hoping we could find it again. Miles of old country hwy spread before us, meandering it’s way through hills, valleys, farms and tiny towns. I wanted to stop and photograph the old fallen down barns, the red barns, round bales of hay lined up in pastures, but we were burning daylight.

There’s a time of day, when the sun casts a certain amber hue that always makes me sad. I can’t tell you why. Seeing these small towns and farms, it feels desolate and I wonder how these people ended up here. Knowing the back breaking work even a small farm is, I wonder why anyone would choose that life.

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Maybe it’s the raw honesty of it. There’s no delusion or denial of the natural circle of life, it’s accepted and embraced. Perhaps it’s the earnestness of reaping the bounty of your own hard work, getting out of it as little or as much as you sow into it with your own hands. Maybe it’s just a more….simple, authentic, natural way of life.

Finally, we found the wood and approached the house but no one answered. Clay went to the house next door, the only other house for miles. The 80 yr old neighbor answered and said to go get the wood, she’d take the money and bring it over when he got home. We were loading the wood when he pulled up. He jumped out of his truck with a smile, introduced himself and dug in to helping us load.

We visited while we worked, hearing stories of clearing land and helping a neighbor put out a fire that got away from him. I was reminded too, of the simple honesty of country folk, no aires or masks, you get what you see. They extend an uncommon warmth and true community where neighbor’s are neighborly and always ready to lend a hand.

I once owned a huge home in the city, in a wildly diverse neighborhood. People would get out and walk in the late afternoon and wave as you passed by. 5 years later, I still didn’t even know one of their names. I then bought a 1969 farmhouse with a barn on 6 acres. We drug in the last moving box around midnight and fell into a mattress on the floor.

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Clay had to work the next morning and by 10am, there was a knock at the door. Jean, from the cattle ranch across the street, had made a pot of soup so I wouldn’t have to cook while unpacking and a card with her and her husband’s numbers in case we needed anything. Val from next door brought me a large box of chocolates and Debbie from down the road brought over a pineapple as she doesn’t bake!

We drove that meandering country hwy back home to our new lake front home. Somehow the amber sun didn’t feel so bleak and the tiny towns felt warm, though still I felt sadness tugging at my edges. I miss my neighbors, community and my church in my tiny country town.

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©Laura M. Bailey, All the shoes I wear & writing down the Bones, 1990–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura M. Bailey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Meander

15 comments

  1. I always loved the truth and humbleness that comes with country people. The cities are too large and everything is done at such a fast pace that no one has time for anything or anyone. Like when you watch the cars flash by on city freeways. If it is too fast we can’t stop and enjoy the moment of that part in our life. Every step we take once taken is gone to the past. In the country you see those steps, you enjoy them, you love them, and when they are gone you mourn them. That is where the sadness comes I believe. The beauty of actually living in those slow country days. Teaches us all what is really important in life and how each moment is only there for a short time so enjoy it. In the city, it is too fast, we don’t even realize they are there. The steps we take the people around us, the sunny days and beautiful trees all become one…a big fast blur of time.

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      • Thank you Laura. Your post said it all though. Your stories always inspire is all and make us thing a little bit more about things. I was just agreeing with what you pointed out about how special country living is. It should be experienced by everyone. Maybe if every human being on this planet took a little country break once a year they too would experience what life is really about and everyone would appreciate it more being very grateful about everything we all truly have.

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    • That is so true! I wonder at all we may have lost without really knowing it was slipping away. We ate surrounded by wooded mountains here. We go hiking, 7 mile hikes. Remarkable how we suddenly realize that neither of us have spoken a word in 2 hours…we fall silent. There is a calm that comes over us, a peacefulness in spirit, a quiet comfort in the still and hush. An AWE-some clarity of the stunning beauty of simple nature.
      Far away from the hustle, bustle, noise and technology. A stunning contrast.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent writing !
    This reminded me of my time in the country, I kept thinking how will I survive without technology or internet or all the things that make us comfortable in the city. But two days there and the need for phones, technology decreased, not because they were not needed but because other things ( perhaps more natural and important ) took preference and they were enough to make us happy and satisfied.
    I don’t know how others think of country life, but those 10 days there changed me and taught me things that city life was unable to in 20 years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 💗 I took an 11 day camping trip once. No technology, no phone, not allowed to check the time, nothing……best time of our lives! It was a total recharge!
      There was a peacefulness…A calm, there. In 5 years, even when we left town, I never once locked a door. A unique and life changing experience.
      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment and connect!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully written! 😀

    It’s called the Golden Hour here (and most other places as far as i know?) and to me it is a beautiful time of day, also cherished by many photographers for it’s wonderful glow. 🙂

    Hard manual work has a reward and satisfaction all of it’s own and is something that I, as a city person for almost all my life, have largely lost the appreciation of. City’s are supposed to make things so much more convenient for us, but really they just take away our heart and souls and that’s not very convenient at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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