What do you think of when you hear the word country?
For some, it might refer to a nation but I’m thinking of a place a little closer. For many it means a state of mind, an attitude not a specific place.
For me the term refers to a rural place, a landscape. An escape from or to. Getting back to nature. A walk in the woods. A bench in the park, or even a geranium on the window sill.
Country is a feeling, an attitude, a breath of air. The first daffodil or garden tomato. Watching a tiny spider try to climb a blade of grass. Or the cute tree frog plastered to the window at night, staring back at me with his big eyes.
I live in the country, or what many people think of when they hear that term. With fields and woods, streams and private places. In a very very old house which still echoes with the laughter of children from long ago and more recently.
The walls are a foot thick and not one of them is exactly perpendicular. And that’s OK; neither am I these days.
The best compliment I’ve ever received was from my great Aunt Catherine who was visiting many years ago. She was sitting in an old wingback chair with some music playing softly in the background. The windows were flung open to catch the breeze and she remarked, This house is just so comfortable. And isn’t that what anybody wants their guests to feel? Comfortable?
No matter where we live now, most of us are only a generation or two from the country life. Fortunately we can still experience a taste of country with that pot of tomatoes on the deck or the geranium in the window. Take a walk in the park. Feed the birds. Just sit in the shade and tune into nature’s sounds.
Frequent visits to my grandparents as a child planted the seeds of my love for the country life. Collecting still-warm eggs from the chickens. Playing with cousins in the hayloft. Giving that mean old sow a wide berth. Living on that little farm in the county was always a dream of mine.
My husband and I realized this dream thirty-five years ago when we actually bought the farm at auction. That resulted in a lot of work to bring the old place up to date. We were much younger then and had watched way too much of This Old House. Ha ha. Not quite so easy. Add a twenty-five mile commute to work (and the grocery). But it’s been fun through the years with lots of rewards (and some trials).
I love the version of country that I’ve been living for the past couple of decades but I also realize that you may have a different version. Do you decorate with simple hand-made furniture and quilts? Or put your green thumb to work on those patio plants? Maybe you can walk down to the ocean shore or river to check out the wildlife? Or are you a birder, waiting in a swamp for the first rays of dawn in order to photograph those cranes that are passing through?
What does your country look like? Is it comfortable?