Fifteen years ago, we were in the market for a new house. It was time to downsize from the four bedroom family home to something smaller. Something that wouldn't require so much energy.
I had grown up near grandparents who owned a small farm and I had spent many summer days with them. My husband's family had farmed when he was young, and he and I shared an idealized version of what life might be like living outside the city limits.
I'm sure the real estate agent saw something in us, and started to sell an idea. He showed us a few houses in town, and nothing caught our attention. He casually mentioned he had a few small properties just outside the city limits. Would we like a look? Hook.
"I could show you a few acreages, just for something different." Line.
It was a sunny, August day. The last place he showed us was a newly parcelled acreage with an old growth line of trees along the southwest edge, and ten acres of scrub and trees directly west. A small, 1940 style bungalow had been moved onto a new foundation. The interior had been restored with sculpted ceilings and original oak hardwood floors. The house was facing southeast, and sunlight filled the rooms. Sinker.
We signed the deal, sold our home and moved to country life on October 15th. The first big snowstorm hit on Halloween night. The snow stayed until the end of May. Spring, when it came, was fast and furious. Standing water surrounded the house and was within a few feet of the foundation.
We learned about septic tanks and septic fields, and of the glory and damage that water can do. We survived a flooded basement, multiple power outages, and a two year draught in our newly planted tree farm. A lot of sweat equity was invested in that little acreage over the twelve years we lived there.
I discovered my love of birds, the sky, tending my vegetable garden, freshly cut flowers, and the sound of silence. I also learned to respect the power of thistle.
I learned that the sky tells different stories, day and night, summer and winter. I witnessed my first aurora borealis. It took my breath away.
I learned the difference between loneliness and being alone. I learned about solitude.
Those years changed how I see the world.