Almost a year ago, we moved from Castle Rock, Colorado to Sedalia. We have a little bit of acreage now, and it backs to national forest. The setting is peaceful and spectacular.
- Our front yard in Sedalia, Colorado
Like all beautiful and meaningful things, it takes some work. For example, over the winter, I learned to operate a plow truck. For a girl from the Gulf Coast, that accomplishment is quite something. In the spring, we bought some little chicks.
Our chickens, as babies, in the stairwell. They have been spoiled since birth.
They sheltered in a box in our stairwell for ten long weeks while their coop was being built. I found the design for the coop on the Internet, and then our genius master carpenter friend made it even better – the penthouse of chicken coops. We have eight happy, cheerful hens – four Ameracaunas and four Buff Brahmas – and they should start laying some eggs in the next month or so.
The chicken coop at night, with the inside heaters going strong.
What I did not do this past year is write. Life intervened. I spent my days doing, going, organizing, packing, unpacking…without much time for contemplation. I did not have much silence in my life. Without time to think, I did not find time to write anything I thought worth reading.
Oddly, though I was always busy, it was not with work. Or with friends. The bland, uninspiring, plain-white-underwear-of-a-word for last year is logistics. For example, the Internet connection in the country is a changeable thing. Ours has been down as much as it has been up. The CenturyLink reps and I are on first name bases, and I now know what a doubler is. And a brownout. And how much replacing computers after a series of brownouts costs.
My son attended a middle school that is 45 minutes away from our new home. Though we bought our house in July, we did not move until January. So, we thought it unfair to move him mid-year, and we made the long commute every day.
Everything was further away from the veterinarian to the grocery store to the hairdresser. Train tracks run through Sedalia, north- and south-bound, and their schedules seem unpredictable. I have been delayed by two trains, one going in each direction. I have waited while a train stopped dead on the tracks, and, I guess, detached a car or two from its line-up.
As a type-A person, I was used – even addicted – to brinksmanship with my calendar – scheduling as many activities as possible as close together as remotely feasible. I was always on my way somewhere else as soon as an activity wrapped up. My goal was to experience as much as I could each day.
So, at first, I chafed with impatience at the unpredictability of my daily schedule. I had to learn to allow more time, to do less, to accomplish fewer things each day. Slowly, I learned how to manage my time better..and the days flowed past.
In May, my son finished middle school. Next year, he starts high school, which will mean long days for him, with football practice after school every day throughout the fall. The rural bus picks up all the kids, kindergarten through high school, on its route each day. He can take the bus and meet the “neighbors” along a ten or fifteen mile stretch. My husband will take him to school some mornings, because they both enjoy that time together, talking about whatever fathers and sons discuss when not impeded by female company.
I, on the other hand, will not have long days or competing responsibilities to juggle for the first time in a very long time. The question before me is this: what have I learned, if anything, from this year where I departed from my normal harried approach to life? Will I keep this slower, more serene existence and resist the temptation to fall back into an over-scheduled rut? Or, will I jump back into all the activities I’ve let fall away during the move – my small business, my lunch meetings, or my beloved but time consuming riding lessons?
This has been a squiggly year, and I’ve come to realize I needed a break from the critical path approach to life in order to savor it as it should be savored.
I am not yet sure. But I do want to write about this changing journey, here. I want to describe what it’s like to see, and smell, and hear, 25 elk in the yard.
I wonder what my former HOA would think about this off-leash gathering? All i can say is, we’re going to need a lot more poop bags!
I want to bring you with me on my current adventure as I seek to deter the two bears who have moved into the neighborhood and like to come visit the chickens, raid the garage, and peer in the windows of our house. Perhaps most of all, I want to enjoy the silence – the unscheduled, unhurried, companionable silence that’s interrupted only by the gentle snuffles of my dogs as they doze at my feet and on the couch.
Deceptively calm at the moment, aren’t they?
That welcoming, undemanding, gentle solitude is the necessary precursor for me to write anything, to connect to anyone in a meaningful way, and to be at peace with the world.