I’m a country girl and proud of it. True story.
That wasn’t always the case, though. For my first twelve and a half years I lived in a residential neighborhood on a dead-end street in Jacksonville, FL. We were close enough to the grocery store that my mother sometimes sent me to the grocery store on my bike for an essential item or two. Now, don’t start labeling her a “bad mom.” It was only a few blocks away and things were much different in the sixties and early seventies. Safer. Back then kids would play outside all day long and only come home when they heard their mom bellowing their names from the front porch at supper time. I was one of the lucky “town kids.” My backyard bordered a creek and we had access to woods at the end of our street. We rode bikes, and roller-skated, and played school, and caught crawdads and tadpoles and minnows in the creek, and built forts in the woods, climbed trees, played softball or freeze-tag or hide-and-seek, or sailed into the sky on the neighbor’s tire swing, or any number of other things…as long as it was OUTSIDE. I miss those days. I feel sorry for children who don’t get to do those things, whose childhoods revolve around technological doo-dads and Netflix.
When I was twelve and a half, we moved to South Carolina. My parents built a house in the country and I have to confess I resented being so far away from everything. After all, I was almost a teenager. But I think, in reality, I was mad because we didn’t have a creek nearby. We did have woods, though, and a big garden that grew bigger every year because my daddy got a little carried away chugging along on his tractor with the planter attachment. He didn’t realize just how long those rows were. He was conveniently in town at his job when it came time to weed or pick the harvest.
When I got married, I was back in town for a few years, and oh, how I missed the country then. We lived on a busy street with a factory to one side, a noisy garage on the other and a railroad track bordering the back. We were situated near a railroad crossing and there always seemed to be a train horn blaring to wake the dead whenever my son took a nap.
In the early nineties, we moved back to where I was born…NC, and I was home.
We found five acres of land, built a house, a barn, and cleared just enough woods for a pasture and gardens. Every morning, the first thing I see when I open my eyes, is a beautiful mountain vista framed by my bedroom window. Every evening, I can look out at those same mountains and the only lights I see are the stars. Ah…serenity.
We raised dairy goats for years, but I sold them a couple of summers ago because, now that my sons are grown and gone, we don’t drink that much milk and I didn’t feel like making cheese everyday. Goats tie you down a lot too. It’s hard to find someone to housesit when one of the duties includes milking. That’s not a skill many people have anymore. So now we’re down to just chickens.
Raising chickens has been educational. I’ve learned, first hand, the meaning behind many of the sayings we use everyday: henpecked, rule the roost, pecking order, cocky, madder than a wet hen. I’ve also learned that, contrary to what is depicted in some cartoons and shows, roosters don’t just crow at dawn. They crow whenever they darn well please, and sometimes that’s in the middle of the night.
During morning chores, some of the chickens hurry out of the chicken house, scurrying here and there, scrambling for their share of the scratch I scatter about, but there are a couple of gentle little hens who loiter around my feet. They don’t join the helter-skelter of rushing bundles of feathers. They just wait. They know there’ll be plenty of scratch dropping from my hand as I’m strewing it around. They know they’ll get just what they need if they’re patient and wait. It’s a perfect illustration of waiting on God. If I’ll just wait at His feet, He’ll see that I get just what I need. I just have to be patient and not join in the rushing rat-race of the world, trying to get what I need for myself. Just wait….
I know the country-life isn’t for everyone, and I’m glad. If it were, there wouldn’t be enough country to go around. But for me, a day in the country truly is worth a month in town.