Saturday, April 11, 2009

Living on the Edge of Civilization

For many years I've collected quotes, either on scraps of paper scattered around my house or in books that are tucked on my bookshelves. I'm always amazed when a writer can convey an idea or a thought in one sentence, concise and to the point. Author often use a quote at the beginning of a paragraph as a jumping off point.

Here are a couple of quotes and the thoughts they evoke.

“The true New Yorker secretly believes that anyone living anywhere else must somehow, in a sense, be kidding.”

- John Updike

No, we're not kidding.

The Farmer and I were both raised within spitting distance of Chicago, one of the largest, most exciting and interesting cities in the world. It is a wonderful place, but as young adults we knew it was best held at arm's distance. And that's where we are. The city is 50 miles away if we need a dose of high culture, opera (not likely), art and noise. The sound of the "El" screeching along the tracks is enough to make your skin crawl.

The move was made in increments, slowly west we creeped, into suburbia and then into the farthermost edges of civilization. When we first moved to this place, electric service was unreliable. Really. It seemed like every time a dark cloud passed overhead the electricity went out. It felt good to be faced with odd little challenges like how to plow 24 inches of snow first thing in the morning.

Our neighbors love to ask a newcomer, "Have you got your blade yet?", to which the newbie stammers, "Blade, what's a blade?" A blade is a heavy attachment to your truck, tractor or lawn tractor that will allow you to push snow. Lots of snow.

Lots of people dream about living in the country, with or without the livestock and acreage. At some point you have to just do it. It may require simplifying your life in ways you never dreamed. There are people who have done it, walked away from successful careers in California and moved to spots in Missouri, fifty miles from the nearest cell tower.

If you think you can't live without "stuff", I'm here to tell you that it's possible. HA......get this, I was born before most of that stuff was invented and I can tell you we lived plenty well without it.

If you want to realize a dream you must first name it. What's your dream of how your life would look if you could go forward and change?

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic. Begin it now.

~ Goethe

Mine is a constant work in progress.

This week we met Natasha and Donna, who moved to the country nine years ago. Read the story of the transformation of their family and their lives.


EDIT. NOTE: Not everyone is cut out for the "full monty" of living out in the country and sometimes it's just not possible to make that move, but we can all carve a little spot of quiet and solitude to decompress and bring a bit of the country into our lives. More about that next week.

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Susan said...

I am so glad you shared this welcome back to reality post. You are so right. Living away from "it all" is a blessing at times.

Jody Blue said...

Moving to the country in 3 years--whre I can have chickens and no neighbors. I live in a small (pop.924) town and our yard boarders the co. fairgrounds and highschool track. Beyond that is the lake, woods, creek, and farms. I see cows across the road on the hill, Its really close to country...but 10 years ago when I had 5 chickens in the dog kennel, someone (wasn't my neighbors they all knew the chicks where headed for the stew pot) call the cops on me, I kid you not! So REAL country I'm on my way!! Sorry about the long comment, must be my 1/2 cup of capicinno kicking in!

Farmchick said...

12 years ago my husband and I gave up city life, in Washington D.C., to move back to our incredibly small hometown. We now live on a 25 acre farm at the end of a one lane country road. It has been an interesting journey, for sure. I have that last quote you listed on my wall in the kitchen. It's really true.

Marfa said...

This is a post after my own heart. I have lived in the city for most of my life, but my soul YEARNS for the country. I would love to have a cottage within a couple of acres of land tucked somewhere in the sticks, with a pond, chickens, and a few other animals. Also a career that allow me to have that lifestyle.

Karen said...

When we finally move back to New Zealand, we will NOT be living in the city.

That is a concious decision that we are making.

Close to the city...but not in it ..never again..

Karen said...

When we finally move back to New Zealand, we will NOT be living in the city.

That is a concious decision that we are making.

Close to the city...but not in it ..never again..

Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

Love your blog. I live 16 miles from anything....It's been 26 years now and I'm still alive! Still have piles of snow where I live and tons of mud.

Cottage Rose said...

Hello Suzanne; The happiest time when I was a small child, was when my Daddy took us to the Farm of my Uncle and Aunt. I love it, there was lots to do. Some times I do miss it, but sadly it is not possible to move there now.. But I have my memories to keep me the Country.

Have a great Easter....


Mary said...

We have found a quiet place we can retreat to when the world is too much with us. This was a lovely post.
I'll be back for more.

Louise said...

Your unreliable electrical service made me laugh. That's how I grew up. But I have spent very little of my life REALLY living in the country. Someday I shall return--more than I ever was in the first place. Of course that will take some convincing of my City Boy Prince Charming. I think he just doesn't understand. He'll need a computer to survive. I'm willing to have electricity and a computer!