Real Living

By now you know I highly value simplicity…I cherish the dailiness of life-happenings, those moments that busy life and our fast-paced culture so often steal without much notice on our part. If we do notice, we shrug and keep spiraling along, feeling we have little choice in the matter.

I love our shaded corner of country life…and I don’t mind admitting that I protect it fiercely. Sometimes you just can’t cut the grass each weekend, and sometimes you’ve got to let the dust settle inside. Or say no to 4H, as we’re contemplating doing.

These things just can’t compare to:

Lazy summer afternoons spent outside reading together in the hammock or alongside the sandbox while little sister happily builds bucket-castles and moats. Hiking the back hill to the very tip-top of our world and picnicking on the flat slab of limestone there. Pointing out meadowlarks and mosquito hawks, grazing horses at the nearby pond, the small town’s water tower ten miles away…on the way home collecting the perfect rocks for our garden, and wildflowers to press. We upend a rock, capture a baby skink and admire his neon blue tail.

In the fall we splash our four-wheeler down the creek bed, wade around catching salamanders, making miniature rock ledged pools to store them in…an old quart jar becomes home a few minnows…we watch them grow. One day we’ll catch a tadpole and bring him home. Can’t go home without rock-skipping lessons from daddy. We decide it’s time to burn the brush pile and as the flames flicker down we get out the marshmallows and hot dogs…

Winter means Swiss Miss hot chocolate every single day and afternoon tea parties. Pulling out the sleeper sofa, piling it with pillows and blankets and firing the fireplace. Movies and popcorn and Horse-o-poly. Snow ice cream with caramel sauce and peanuts. Making shadow animals on the walls. Playing fox and geese in the three inch snowfall, bodies sweating, noses and fingers burning with cold. Back porch swamped with drying boots, gloves, coveralls, hats and scarves. Kitchen full of red cheeks, huge smiles, and contagious giggles. Kettle whistling on the stove top. Cherry pie cooling on the counter.

Spring scents the air with lilacs and honeysuckle. Farm babies wobble into our hearts, neighbors burn pastures all around us. Fishing poles come out on damp evenings after rainy days. Crickets and toads beckon to us as we trudge our way to the pond, knee-deep bluestem tickling our calves, tackle box banging against my thigh. Night shadows, watercolor sunsets, bug spray. Catching fireflies. Falling into bed bone-tired and gloriously happy.

I’m not envious when I hear my friends going on about all the sports their kids participate in. How cell phones and DVDs enhance their many hours in the car. Busy living the American Dream.

Real life, real noise, time to soak it in. To be silly or serious. That is wealth, that is freedom. To me.