I grew up in the country.
Unless you ask my husband. He says we didn’t live in the country. There were too many houses around. Not country, Kansas style, but for the east, it was country to us.
I lived along a back road. A narrow, paved road. It was home.
When I got married I moved away from my parents home, in the country, to my own home, in a different state, but still in the country. A different kind of country and no longer a narrow paved road, but a wide, dirt and sand road.
Sixteen years later, and not only do I love my farmer man, but also a part of this Kansas land.
I’ve fallen for the dirt road that runs outside my doorway.
I haven’t always loved them. I really didn’t mind them, but I didn’t appreciate it the way I do now.
I’ve spent a lot of time walking on these dirt roads in the last sixteen years. When we were first married, there were many days that I would set out down the dirt road, much more out of necessity than a desire to walk. I had days that were lonely and walking was a good outlet. I was excited to be married and have my own home, but there were lots of adjustments in moving far away from my family.
The first year and a half of our married life we rented a house and there was no shed or shop for my farmer man to use for his equipment. If he was working on equipment he was away from home. It was a lot different than having him right outside the backdoor in the shed.
I would go ride in the tractor with him. I’d take him lunch. I had a couple of cleaning jobs. But I was only nineteen years old and changes in life just bring adjustment with it. So, I would walk. Down the dirt road.
I had a friend and she had a little girl and we would do things together. We would often take a walk. There was more than once that her little gal got a bumpy ride, with an interesting view, as we dragged her umbrella stroller, backwards, through the thick sand on our walk. Pulling it worked much better than pushing it, if the sand on the dirt road got very thick at all.
I had a couple of friends who would stop by my house on their way home from work. Often, you would find us strolling and chatting down the dirt roads. There were days when one of my friends would stop by, and though I had taken a walk earlier, off I’d go again.
Fast forward a few years and you would find me living in a different house on a different road. But still a dirt road. And now I had a little daughter. And an umbrella stroller. And a big stroller. One that had bigger wheels, so it would ride along the dirt roads without too many problems. When I shopped for a stroller, I shopped for wheels. It wasn’t a jogging stroller. I really don’t remember looking at them. I guess I don’t know how long they’ve been around. I’m sure they weren’t in our price range anyway.
Through baby years and toddler years, you would find me taking walks and pushing a stroller. Sometimes, when you’re a mama, you just want to take a little break and go outside. Baby brother joined the family, bringing times when big sister would trot along or ride her bike or both small people would pile snugly in the stroller.
My children grew and there were times you’d find us all pedaling bikes through the sand and down the road. You definitely needed to stay away from the sandridge along the edge of the road or have enough power to ride right on through it.
There were times when our whole family would take a stroll and there were a few moonlit walks, the heavens overhead, bright from the full moon and twinkling stars.
And as the years crept and sped by and I logged uncounted miles and time up and down our road, my feelings of fondness and attachment were quietly sprouting and blossoming.
Today, I’m in love with this dirt road. It whoops dust around my house, stirred up by a passing vehicle when it is a hundred degrees outside and dry, dry, dry. In the winter, it becomes slippery from melting ice and snow, creating mud and mess. Too wet for a few days to even want to walk on it and sometimes who even wants to drive on it?!
It is home. It is a slower pace. It is where I walk and often pray and rejoice in the big, blue sky and gaze at the wheat fields, struggling or thriving as the case may be.
Life works this way. The mundane, creeping up on you, making memories, little details taken for granted, hum-drum ordinary, until one day you realize how much it has grown on you and how it has woven it’s way into your life and heart and become a part of you and it would be hard to say good-bye.