I am not proud to admit that I occasionally – okay, sometimes more than occasionally – complain about the location of our homestead. I whine because (1) it’s rural, and (2) it’s in Michigan. Don’t get me wrong, rural life has its perks. Our locale is safe, clean, friendly, has an economically pleasing low cost of living, and – most importantly – is quiet. As someone who enjoys her peace and is the #2 lightest sleeper in the world (second only to our beloved toddler – I’ll share more on her insomnia another day), I cannot overstate my love for the absence of noise. The occasional night of holiday fireworks reminds me not to take this for granted, and nearly every out-of-town guest to stay at our abode remarks on the utter silence, even stating “I couldn’t sleep…it’s just so….quiet.”
Living so far from civilization, however, has its frustrations. Generally I complain about the shortage of truly important things in life – good food, good shopping, entertainment. It is a 15 minute drive to get a gallon of milk and we rack up an absurd amount of miles simply getting to and from work during the week. Our roads are the last – if ever – to be paved, repaired or plowed, and apparently us country folk don’t require power because in the event of a storm and outage, we should just plan on indoor camping for the forseeable future. (I can hear it now “first world problem,” “isn’t that just terrible,” blah blah blah…I know, I know).
As far as Michigan, my love for the state runs deep. Truly. Other than my four years of undergrad out of state (Go Irish!), I’ve planted roots in this state and could rattle on until your ears bleed about its abdundant water, beautiful landscape, kind people, great music, unique travel destinations, and so on. I have but five complaints for Michigan: November, December, January, February and March. During these five loooong glorious months, the outdoor palette limits itself to white, brown and gray. Some days, the air is so bone-chillingly cold we can hardly stand to leave the house and there are even more days when it seems the sun doesn’t come out at all.
And yet there are so many more nights like tonight, when my faith and happiness in our locale is restored. Because it’s FALL. I love fall. Fall means changing leaves and cool, calm weather and apple orchards and pumpkin everything. Every night we can, we load up the baby and the dogs and take a nice long walk.
We might not have streetlights or nearby parks or manicured lawns, but we DO have rolling hills, spanning fields, endless trees and enough wildlife to replace a petting zoo (a wild, dirty, potentially rabid petting zoo).
When I take the time to shut my mouth and look around I realize that, when it comes down to it, I really don’t have anything to complain about at all.
I just might need a reminder come January.