Living out in the country has its advantages. There is a peacefulness that is incomparable to city life. The pace of life is much more relaxed and the stress level is nearly zero when weighed against the hustle and bustle of hoards of humanity rushing through their daily routines.
We moved from the city seven years ago to a little place (5 acres) nestled in the woods about 7 miles from town on the side of a mountain. Here we don’t have to be reminded to stop and smell the roses for we have the advantage of a variety of fragrances permeating the air around the clock. The biggest adjustment we had to make was slowing down our lives. We no longer had to schedule in extra travel time for possible traffic jams, don’t have to fight the mobs of people at the stores or be afraid to say hello to a stranger and there is a leisurely pace that was almost annoying in the beginning and now is ingrained into our routines.
The cashier at the grocery store asks about our week and truly wants to hear about the new baby goats, the shipment of specialty chickens arriving in the next day or so, the family visiting next week or our son being accepted into college on a scholarship. Stopping to pick up the mail may take 20-30 minutes because three neighbors stopped to ask about our week and then shared that they just bought a prize bull, their daughter was voted in as this year’s Rodeo Queen, their first-time mama goat is giving a quart of milk a day and still has plenty for her twins or their son (or daughter) was just accepted into college.
Oh, you still have responsibilities and a primary schedule for accomplishing things. And, if you have a job, there is still the time clock to face but the whole attitude toward life is different! You work hard and then you enjoy resting. There doesn’t seem to be the drive to dash through the day and then collapse in the evening, although I’m sure there are still some who do just that.
We have a leisurely breakfast each day and then go about our daily tasks. We don’t play the radio during the day usually and are often entertained by the songs performed “live” throughout the day featuring solos from doves, quail, finches, canaries, sparrows and swallows. Then there are the special contributions made by various hens announcing new arrivals, met with approving clucks from their girlfriends as Joseph, the rooster with a coat of many colors, struts proudly through the chicken corral, taking credit for his accomplishments! The goat kids bounce and climb and supervise the entire list of my husband’s chores in the small pastures, the mamas silently oversee everything while restfully chewing their cuds. The herd dog keeps everyone safely together and the guard dog keeps all predators away. The cats control the mice and the house dogs lie patiently waiting for us to stop our busyness in order to cuddle into our laps for the evening.
About twilight begins our nightly concert. The crickets and frogs and owls begin their serenade as stars begin to twinkle and a soft billowy breeze passes through the pastures and barnyard. Often in the distance can be heard the chatter of coyotes signaling to one another. These “song dogs”, as they are commonly called by country folk, are gathering for their nightly trek to a familiar hunting ground. Listening carefully one can almost put words to their unique calls. Maybe a single animal will announce its presence and then there may be a lone response or sometimes a group seems to say: “We’re over here and headed your way. Meet us at the pond and we’ll figure out where to go next.” Then suddenly off in the distance there may be a young song dog calling to say: “Hey guys, wait for me, I’m coming too!”
As they begin to gather, their voices blend together, sometimes beautiful and sometimes harsh – somewhat like a lovely ballad being interrupted by a burst of hard rock. But then they blend again and fade with their passing and all becomes peaceful once more – the crickets, frogs and owls picking up the refrain. Throughout the night we may hear a single verse now and again; just like someone has song stuck in their head, repeating it casually every so often. And then, before you know it, a new chorus of chirping, tweeting, clucking, crowing, baaing and mooing brings the countryside to life and another new day is ushered in for us to enjoy!