“Life is complex. Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another…. The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness.”- M. Scott Peck
Ever since I was around eleven or twelve, I have had this aspiration of living in the boondocks. I remember clearly exactly when that dream sparked to life. I grew up in the Four Corners of New Mexico. My childhood was filled with wide open spaces, big blue skies, and fresh clean air. I could go just about anywhere and do just about anything I wanted. There was always the threat of snakes, mountain lions, and other wild things, but that never held me back. I was essentially unafraid and completely able to spread my wings.
Anyway back to the dream, my grandparents had purchased quite a bit of land in Colorado. We used to go there to get firewood and while the adults were cutting logs, the children were free to play and explore as long as we did not wander off too far and we paid attention to our surroundings. Of course, we would go farther than we were supposed to and we did not pay any attention to the thought of said snakes, mountain lions, elk, or even bears. Even though we had seen firsthand when they happened to wander into town. Fear never crossed my mind, oh but freedom did! I did not recognize as a child that what I was feeling was freedom in its purest state, however that is exactly what it was.
On the Colorado property, we found this old mill and it had been abandoned for a very long time. It was dilapidated and falling completely apart. From the sagging roof of the millhouse to the wheel so tilted that it looked as if it could topple from the slightest breeze, I thought it was beautiful! Of course, I HAD to go inside and explore it. My mother would have killed me if she only knew, but I absolutely could not stop myself. The floors were rotted through in places, so I picked my steps carefully. Dirt and leaves were everywhere, along with probably all manner of slithering, slinking things. I had no idea what it was once used to mill. All I knew was that this place was special as it had the power to fill me with wonder and make me hauntingly sad at the same time. To this day, whenever I pass an abandoned house or a falling down barn, I am instantly filled with the same sense of wonder and sadness. And, I always have to fight the urge to go inside and explore it!
At one point around about when I was eleven or twelve years old, my parents entertained the notion of moving up to the Colorado property. They even went so far as to ask us children what we thought about it. We would be living quite an isolated life and may even be unable to reach town once the roads become impassable in winter. We would have to become more self-sufficient. We would have to work. Hard. We would have to make sure we had enough food, firewood, and supplies necessary to survive a snowed in winter. To me, it sounded like the closest thing to Heaven on Earth!
For some reason or another, we did not get to move to the Colorado property. We moved to Texas instead just a few years later. And while we live in the “country”, we are still pretty close to town. No room for exploring or spreading my wings here, we are very conveniently located close to anything and everything. Moving to the Colorado property just never happened, but that burning desire of living a self-sustainable life never left me.
I wonder if that is the reason why now the only time I ever feel truly at peace is when we are hunting in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Just My Handy Man, the kid, and me. When we are so far away from civilization that I can go for miles just seeing God’s creation and His creatures, I can breathe and relax. I can explore and be content again. I do not have to wear any makeup or spend time fixing my hair. I do not have to sit in endless, boring meetings or feel all closed up in a small office with one tiny little window. Nowhere, Texas is the only place that I can truly be myself. I can be me again!! I can be that girl who is unafraid to spread her wings and soar. That girl who feels freedom at its best. That girl who is completely at ease in her surroundings.
I am really writing this because I need to remind myself. I need to remember who I am inside. I am not this corporate world version of myself. I am the other girl. The no makeup, no hairspray, outside-loving girl who once lived inside of me. The girl who only makes an appearance during hunting season.
I am writing this because My Handy Man and I have faced many obstacles over the past few months. We are facing these problems now, head on, and this too shall pass. It is like Murphy’s Law has taken up residence in our front yard right now. However, it has not been completely horrible as we had an outstanding hunting season and our life is full of many blessings! My Handy Man will be having surgery in a couple of weeks and we will press on. I have had many negative comments lately on my dream of living a different life. Things like “Raising chickens is too hard”, “Planting a garden is a waste of time”, or my favorite so far “Trying to move out of a corporate world into a self-reliant life is almost impossible and for people who want to move backward in life instead of forward.”
I just need to remind myself of that girl who is still alive somewhere inside of me. The one who dreams of wide open spaces, of having unclipped wings, and a life of true freedom with My Handy Man next to me. I needed to remember the girl who believes in herself, even when others do not.
Thanks for listening!