Wednesday, March 19, 2014
How do I explain living rurally? I live on a small farm about 10 miles outside a medium-sized town. A dying town, so I travel to larger towns (Lansing, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids) to shop. It is a major trip and doesn't happen very often since gas prices are so high here. We have neighbors across the street and down the road a piece. Our farm encompasses one side of an entire country road. Cool to have that much land and yet very lonely. My plan is to sell our farm in a couple of years and move closer to people. My children were always lonely growing up. People have a very different idea of what it is like for kids in rural areas - other kids are a long way away, so you make do with your siblings, yourself. It is lonely.
My sis-in-law that I mentioned yesterday also lives rurally. Actually she is more out in the sticks than I. About 20-30 miles away depending on which route you have to take to get there. I've gotten lost every time I've tried to get to her home and had to call. I see her only about a handful of times a year. Her 90-year old mother lives in the medium-sized town and once in a while she will stop over on her way to get her.
So anyway that is why our conversation yesterday was so amazing. She turned 60 this year and, evidently, has a 'bucket list' now of things she'd like to accomplish. Running in this race is one of them (who knew she dreamed of running one day). I have never known her to run before since she married my brother (now deceased) young and had her children pretty quickly. Her life was tied up with them and when my brother passed when the boys were still young her life took a different route. She had to provide for them, work outside the home. She sold the house my brother had built for his family (and was paid for) and moved them to a rural area because it was cheaper to live there. She has only worked part-time all those years and lived very frugally and raised her family. I have always kept in touch with her and the boys, who are now grown men with families of their own. She works for her middle son in a party store that he owns during the summer months and also lays tile with his wife in Detroit-area homes during the fall and winter. They lived the closest to her and she lives in a tiny little house that they have given her on their farm. It is a life that works for her.
So anyway I felt that I needed to explain why I haven't seen her in the past year. Life in the country isn't what people think. We don't have monthly hoe-downs or potlucks. Life just goes on. We plant our crops, we harvest when they are ready. We get to enjoy being in the country but we long for other people to visit. My older brother has become a nomad since his retirement a few years ago and lives exclusively in his 5th-wheel traveling about. He comes back to Michigan for a couple of months each year (summer) to see his own grandkids before heading out again. He and I have always been close and I only see him once or twice a year. It doesn't diminish our relationship, and truthfully, it doesn't even seem like it's been that long between visits. He and I 'talk' a lot on Facebook so he has been following my success with walking and diet change. So this year I am very excited for his return. I haven't lost as much as I had hoped but I still think he will be amazed at my transformation from heavy woman who could barely walk to this walking phenom who wants to spend a day on the AT for real (instead of just virtually).