Thursday, October 2, 2008

Life in the Country........

Whenever my family was stateside, my South Carolina/Florida Farm Boy Father made certain that we lived on an acre or two of land. Whether it was in South Bend Indiana or Massillon or Canton Ohio, we had land and animals. This meant that I grew up being able to actually see the sunrise over fields of green or brown, depending on the season. I grew up able to lay back on the grass and, while listening to the soft neighing of horses and clucking of chickens as they settled in for the evening, and watch for shooting stars. There were no large buildings to block the view; no streetlights to dim the sight.

When I grew up and married David, we moved into our first subdivision. Having lived on bases a few times in my childhood, I had a mixture of excitement (at the thought of people actually talking to neighbors over morning coffee) and fear (of neighbors actually talking to me before I'd had my morning coffee). And for the next 22 years, we remained subdivision residents with all of its hustle and bustle and things neighborly~~and privacy fences.

And we pined for the country. We filled the longing with visits to my father's 15 acres in South Carolina and with week long primitive camping on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina and quick trips to the Swannee River, but my heart longed to be back in what it knew best...fields of green, cattle lowing, chickens cackling and pigs...well, oinking....and unfettered views of the night sky....and chorusus of frogs and crickets undisturbed by street traffic.

When we finally moved here in February of 2004, our older two kids were ready to fly the coop and I had days of meloncholy at the thought that I'd left it too late for them to take my love of country living deep into their own souls. I'd watch our daughter grow up with this need to constantly be surrounded by folks and noise and acitivity and I worried for her. Did she know how to spend time alone with herself? Did she really know herself ....know the deepest part of herself or had she drowned it all out?

I didn't worry so much for Dallas; he knew himself because of his music. His music is to him what country living is to me....the thing that allows me to hear my heart- to know myself. But my Nikki? I worried.

Four years later, she's living back here with us. Today, she spends time alone out here, today she has learned that silence can be the very medicine we need when we are hurting and scared. Today, she has learned that gardening and yard work aren't, well, always just work...sometimes that hard work is just what is needed to set one back on an even keel. Today, she isn't the same person who jumped at the crowing of a rooster as if a gun had gone off in her ear.....

As for Hunter....well, he was only 8 when we moved here. He drives a go cart 90 to nothing through fields; he spins out like a pro. He spends weekends at my stepson Dillon's place with its chickens and its even more isolated state then our little farmhouse.....and, he grabs a camera and experiences the beauty of unfettered views whenever the spirit moves him.................

All photographs by Hunter McLeod Wilke - no photoshop, no editing, just the shots as he took them.....pretty good eh?

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