I grew up in the middle of the woods….and I mean this quite literally. We had them all around the house, and across the road (it sure as heck wasn’t a street). In fact, trees were pretty much the only things to be seen for quite a while if you were to drive down our road. Even the houses were sparse. At that time, I wasn’t too keen on the fact that the place where I lived was like that. I always felt it was boring. I hated the seclusion of it all, and was adamant in my contempt of the place. There was nothing there…no cars, no buildings, no people…nothing. Instead, we had bears, deer, the occasional cow from my uncle’s farm, and silence. Total silence…and real darkness; so dark that if you looked up on a clear night, you could see almost the entire cosmos. It was breathtaking…although I didn’t really realize that then. I was craving the sites and sounds of city life…the noises, the overabundance of people, even the streetlights. I assumed (albeit very naively) that I would fulfill this desire when I made it to Broadway, and became a star of the stage. Needless to say, the dreams of the stage were never realized…but my quest for city life was. When I was 16, I moved to a smallish city…but a city nonetheless…that was about 3 hours away from where I grew up in the woods. I was ecstatic. It was everything I’d hoped for! Even in it’s smallness, life bustled about quite nicely along it’s streets and sidewalks. There was always something going on, and that something was always within walking distance. I thought there was nothing better. Then I grew up. Things tend to change quite a bit when you do that.

I left that city quite some time ago…got married, had a rather large family, and also moved around quite a bit. Since being married, I’ve lived in El Paso and outside of Seattle; near Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. These were real cities…and the more I saw of them, the more I missed what I had come from. I missed the soft sounds of the wind in the treetops, and the brilliance of the stars on a clear, cold night. And the way the woods smelled after a summer rain. I realized, although it did take a bit of time, that nothing could compare to these things…after all, you can’t even see the stars in the city, or hear the wind over the traffic, or smell anything worth smelling after the rain. The more I realized this, the more I wanted to go back to what I had when I was growing up. I wanted my kids to experience all of those wondrous things that I did then (yes, I even realized that those things were hardly boring). I wanted to live on a back road, where the only traffic is the occasional tractor or flock of sheep, and the only sounds are the crickets or the cows lowing softly in the fields. But I married a city boy, and a wandering one at that, so for a very long time, it seemed highly unlikely that returning to my roots would ever transpire. But it finally has. And I couldn’t be happier. Our new house is in the middle of the sticks. I saw so many stars last night, I was awestruck…it really had been a while. I even relished watching the bats at dusk, as they flew about in search of their evening meal of mosquitoes and moths. There is wind in the treetops, and there are cows in the fields. We have deer that like to eat my grass, and I even quite happily had to endure the remnants of a skunks ire, as it wafted in through the open window. And today, Terrence saw a bear near the stream behind the house. That’s not exactly what I was wanting when I was longing to be back in the woods, but I’ll take it…so long as it stays on it’s side of the stream.

It really is good to be back. It’s really funny how much my vision of life has changed in the last 20 years or so. I couldn’t even imagine living in a huge city now…even a small one makes me cringe. For the first time in quite some time, I feel alive again, and that’s a good feeling.

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