My son asked me the other day if I had now lived longer in the city than I had in the country. I realized after a moment's reflection that I had indeed. And I'm afraid the trend will only continue.
I've often talked about my childhood in rural Tennessee. I must have laid it on pretty thick, because my son tells me he plans to have a farm there someday, and I can visit, "anytime, Mama, anytime."
I always miss my childhood home more in the summertime. I miss the cornfield at dusk when the whippoorwill's call can be heard, the lane with its profusion of black-eyed susans and honeysuckle and our slice of Johnson Creek to which we migrated most afternoons.
Pathetic, but I have recurring dreams about that piece of land where I grew up. I have nightmares about people bulldozing the woods and building strip malls. I have pleasant dreams where I'm swinging on a metal swing set by the Walnut trees in the evening. Then there is the dream I had a month ago; I was running joyfully through the cornfield from the lane, glad to be home and eagerly advancing over a hill so I could glimpse the squat little house with its blackberry bushes smothering the fence.
I do not miss that place because I am unhappy now. God has blessed me with a husband whom I adore and four beautiful children. We do not lack a home or sufficient food or even health insurance.
And we have a decent backyard. Thank God for that rectangular piece of grass, rocks and dirt. I know my children and I would be hurting without it. And if its one lone tree in the corner ever dies, I'll be heartbroken.
Last weekend our family was heading home from a park when Matthew, my husband, commented on the newer neighborhood through which we were passing. "Nice houses," he said innocuously, but I had a fleeting moment of panic. "Yeah, but look at the yards," I responded anxiously. "They're tiny." I made him promise not to move me to a nicer house with a smaller yard. I'd rather live in an older neighborhood for the extra bit of green space. I may be a city gal now, but I was once a little girl who freely roamed ninety-eight acres of rural Tennessee. And I need a near bit of nature, even if its cordoned off by block fencing.