With a respite from work looming a mere 48 hours away, I catch myself daydreaming of a quiet, country place. Recently, I have been told that I am made up mostly of rustling leaves, the smell of damp earth, and cool breezes. That suits me just fine. I'd rather be known for the simple things rather than stress and drama and headaches. I would rather be seen as fresh air than a reminder of the everyday. The remarks about my make up were pointed more towards the contents of my thoughts and ramblings and asking if I could reference work life a little more. I replied with a smile and a nod but also with the statement that I write what I know and feel. For the most part I am trying to forget the mundane workday and concentrate on the more important and interesting things that make life so exciting. This is not to say that job-related observations do not creep into my thoughts, but, for me, I try to keep work those thoughts within the confines of my time card. Bringing work home is the fastest way to drive both yourself and your family insane. Family time is just that. I trade my time for money nearly everyday, so when I have a little extra to spend with my family (or an even smaller amount with my thoughts and a keyboard), I refuse to squander them with intrusions from work.
And so I return to daydreaming of a quiet, country place. A place my wife and I purchased, along with my parents, a handful of years ago. My parents traded a smaller plot by Cooperstown, NY and a summer home in a lake community filled with city-folks in the Poconos, for a more permanent farm setting in which to retire. My wife and I traded every extra dollar we could muster from our paychecks for a place in the country where our children could run barefoot in the grass. This would be a place our kids could spend countless hours with Grandma and Grandpa. They could chase chickens and goats, build snow forts and sleigh ride, jump in leaf piles and grow pumpkins. We could all retreat from the hustle and bustle and breathe again. With our combined interests, we were able to find 100 acres of magic during a snowy drive over a Christmas weekend. A defunct farm, slowly being overtaken by weeds and the forest, was to become once again a thriving homestead.
Over the last few years, Grandma and Grandpa have turned up the farm factor. They have added horses, goats, rabbits, and chickens to the barnyard. Tractors are slowly outnumbering cars. We have repaired the barns and the fences. Brush hogged the pastures and spread manure to encourage fresh growth. Apple trees have been pruned and new ones planted. Pumpkin patches have been established and the ponds have been mowed clear to allow for cane pole fishing. Raised bed gardens have replaced rocky areas and fallen trees have been split into firewood. Deep within the forest, a forgotten cabin has been brushed clean of cobwebs and the old woodstove is once again warming the cozy inside. The cabin is a secret retreat within a retreat, an even more secluded spot in an already out-of-the-way locale.
Down by the city, it is easy to look forward to returning to an area where cell phone reception is non-existent, electricity is not a certainty (and routinely is not available), and most of the traffic is of the tractor kind. I daydream of throwing haybales in the summer (work devoid of drama), splitting wood in the fall (the cool air making quick work of any sweat), planting gardens in the spring (nothing more rewarding than fresh veggies), and plowing snow in the winter (warm, comfort food seems to taste better). Hunting and fishing, planting and harvesting, maple and mud are seasons. The rising and setting of the sun are the only time clock. Working and daydreaming, and something more to look forward to than bringing work home, that is my place in the country.