Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Where I can breathe.

Is it just me, or people my age, or are we - as a nation - trending toward the rural life again? So many folk I know now have dreams of unplugging and making their urban exodus, quitting their jobs and traveling like nomads, setting up farms and ranches or living in tiny houses on big spreads of land. Some days it sounds truly glorious. Then I think about milking a cow at 5:00am every day and I waver.

Even though I grew up in the country and played in the dirt (literally... I LOVED making mud pies, mud soup, mud muffins, etc, like nothing else), once I got into theatre, I always thought I'd be a city gal. No aspiring actor's dream is complete without a penniless move to NYC, right? I never made it, clearly, and on my first trip to NYC I was mesmerized / revolted / in disbelief at the piles of trash and stench of pollution everywhere. I felt suffocated and depressed. I couldn't fathom how someone could live there, much less happily. Yes, I saw the character, I felt the pulse of opportunity, I soaked up the history and admired the architecture. But I also felt like the city just looked tired, patched together, with millions of tiny human ants milling about. By comparison, D.C. (our home at the time) felt like a pristine National Park. 

I love cities. But living in any big city is HARD. Everything takes more effort. Everyone's exhausted from just doing life everyday. I love to visit and do city stuff, but I have no more desire to live there. I'd much rather sip coffee on the front porch of a cabin in the mountains, or look out my window and only see fields and cows. It's in those places I feel like I can breathe. 

It's like we've come full circle, to another generation running like wild from a concrete paradise. A generation who is invested in the quality and source of what we put in our bodies and interested in where our food is grown and raised, and sees value in owning and cultivating land. That simpler life where the goals are sustenance and survival. You work hard, but you work to feed yourself and your family, and nothing more. It seems like a small and a manageable life. The work is hard, but meaningful and rewarding. We don't need so many things to make us happy. Just meals, shelter, and sunset embraces after a day of toiling in the earth, and rising just to rinse and repeat again tomorrow.

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” 
― Wendell Berry


  1. I feel the same way. The house I grew up in, which my parents built, was about 45 minutes from the city. We were smack in the middle of the mountains, forest all around. Couldn't hit the neighbor's house with a rock. I miss that peace. Probably why I dream about that home at least once a week.

    1. That sounds lovely. Just until recently I couldn't wait to leave home and live in bustling metropolis. I still like being in Austin, but it's a VERY different kind of big city. I think it's a little bit of age and wisdom and a little bit of that age and wisdom pointing us back toward our roots - the farther we get and longer we stay away.