I read a few too many issues of “Mother Earth News” in high school and college. They fueled dreams of living a self-sufficiant ecologically responsible life in a cottage or cabin on a quiet country road with wildlife next door and neighborliness abounding among the two-legged locals.
Not so much. I have parts of that vision: the house on the three acres ( a very conventional very large stick-built brick affair designed and built by Hubby for his midlife crisis, even though I assured him I was fine with the red speedy-car-go-beep or the 23 y.o. blonde options) on what was a rural road when we bought it (now used as a shortcut between the major roads running to the north and south of our land).
I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s a lot harder than they lead readers to think in the self-sufficiancy department. I’m good at planning and pointing, but not much else. We would be effed if we were to rely on my questionable gardening skills and my utter lack of desire to hunt or to process animals for food. It’s very possible to have a bountiful fruit and vegetable garden in small spaces. Two of my friends who live within city limits are avid, adept gardeners who have raised impressive amounts of produce in their yards. I have access to an organic farm that sells at one of the local markets, so I buy from them as much as possible. They have plans for a farmstand this summer. I hope so. The wait between market days is a long one, indeed.
In the quiet department, there are the mourning doves at daybreak. Their gentle song begins as early as 4 AM. It gives way to the shrieks of the starlings, crows, and sparrows engaging in territorial battles. We also get coyotes with alarming frequency and proximity to the house. There have been nights when the howls sounded as close as if they were trying to break in through the back door.
Non-wildlife noises abound as well. Farm machines lurch through the fields bordering ours, grinding their gears as they spray agricultural chemicals on the field. Riding mowers alert us to who is doing yardwork on a given day. Semis trundle up and down the road. On weekends, our road gets turned into a drag strip due to its extensive straightaway that runs a mile until the curve bends to the right and into the utility pole at the end of the road.
There are times, however, when the sounds are stilling, calming as a hand on the heart. In late summer when the corn is high and the wind blows at night, the rustling sounds like secrets. So do the evergreen boughs and maple leaves as they dance in the wind.
And there are times in the middle of night when I wake up due to my own internal nose to dead silence. Sometimes I’ll get up and look out the window at the stars, at the shadows of the evergreens stretching across the front yard.
In those moment, I remember why we moved out here in the first place.