Thursday, April 14, 2011

Open Spaces

Country Roads
I grew up in the country.  My husband calls it "Farmland USA."  My house was on a corner of my grandparents' 50-acre farm.  It wasn't a working farm when I was growing up, but the barn still stood, and the fields and woods were there.  I remember spending a lot of time just wandering around, or sitting by myself in the middle of a field, or under a tree, or poking around in the barn.  As I got older, my sister and I would take what we called a "block walk."  It didn't matter that the block went approximately six miles.  No one worried if we were out of sight for a while.  We were country kids, and they knew we'd be back eventually, no worse off than when we left, aside from a possible sunburn or bug bite.  

I loved the time alone.  I was, and still am, a "thinker," and I needed time with my thoughts.  I don't remember ever being afraid.  Our family wasn't rich, but I don't remember feeling deprived.  I had the whole world.  

I now live in a small house on a half-acre lot.  It is more than a lot of people have.  Behind our house is a large hill.  There is another house on top of the hill, but we can only see it in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees.  There are houses on either side of ours.  There is no house directly across the street...we are looking into someone's back yard.  Our neighbors are all friendly, and we don't really bother each other.  But it is small.  And closed.  And sometimes I want to be able to walk without stopping to turn around at the end of the lot.  I want to wander in the woods, and sit in the field.  

I took the kids to a park, today.  It is much larger than our yard.  There are swings and slides and a pirate ship to climb on.  There were lots of kids there, because it is just starting to feel like spring here, and today was a beautiful sunny day.  There are walkways going every direction, and there is a fancy pond with two waterfalls and a bridge.  It is not a field or a woods, but it is big.  You can walk without stopping for quite a ways.  We walked, we ran, we looked at the pond, and played on the swings and the slides.  We didn't want to leave.  I am the parent, and I had to make us go home when it was supper time.  I felt like hiding in the pirate ship like Rory did, so I didn't have to get into the van and drive away.  But I am the parent.  Lily kept asking to go back.  I said, sure, we could go back again many times.  After all, it is just spring, and we can go in the summer and fall.  She meant now.  No, not now.  Another day.  

So, we are home.  We snuggled on the couch and read books.  The kids are in bed.  It is cozy, here.  The puppy and the cat and the chickens are here.  My piano and books are here.  But sometimes I miss the open spaces, and the feeling of belonging to a place.  I can't let the kids go far without watching them.  You never know what could happen these days.  But I wonder how much they are missing by being so closely observed.  They are still young, and Lily is too little to be running around by herself, but Rory is about as old as I was when I would spend time just wandering.  I know he feels the loss, even if it's something he has never known.  He feels a pull toward the open spaces.  The time alone with his thoughts.  I hope he can find it somehow, even if he can't walk very far without turning around.  


  1. Sounds like we had a very similar upbringing. Our nearest neighbor was a mile away and we always took off for long walks or horseback rides. No one ever worried about us. Man did my sis and I have fun. No tv, just our imaginations and lots of book reading. We live in town, too. It sure makes me appreciate when I visit my folks' ranch. Blessings, Jackie

  2. I can so relate to this. My children have missed much of open spaces in their lives through the many military moves we have made. My dream would be to live in the country...but I know that is not where the Lord has us right it is not what is best for me right now. But, I too, long for those open spaces...time to think. And I still pray for that house in the country with acres to roam. If not here...I am sure we will have lots of open spaces in Heaven...and how wonderful to walk them with the Father!


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