Often times I dream of living outside the city and raising my son amidst bucolic simplicity, and maybe even a few sheep. I have lots of fond memories of growing up in a small midwestern town, just miles from rural bliss. As a kid, I appreciated the sense of freedom I got while riding my bike through a stop sign dominated town, down to the river with friends. As a teen, the wide open country roads were the best place to test the speedster within. In my early college days, the endless rural landscapes that passed by on my drives home offered space to reflect and search my soul.
Country Living’s March issue is a tribute to the timeless hipness of all manner of country inspired things. I was particularly pleased to come upon the piece by Beth Ann Fennelly, highlighting the wonderful elements of her family’s “haycation”. She and her husband and two young children stayed in a well-appointed tent (without electricity), and worked around a farm, enjoying the outdoors, animals and fresh food. The farm featured, Kinnikinnick Farm, is located in Caledonia, Illinois, 12 miles away from my hometown of Rockton. The owner, Susan Cleverdon, also works at my alma mater, Beloit College. My bother-in-law worked there for a summer quite a few years ago, and I remember attending a family picnic they hosted for all of the season’s farm hands. It was late August, and I recall feeling so warm and fuzzy after the party, and not just because of the muggy weather. Reading the piece really brought me back home, and renewed that happy, warm memory. It made me want to go home.
As much as I love living in the heart of the city at this point in my life, there is a latent, but patient longing to go back to simpler days and my small town roots. At the moment though, I can gaze out my window and into the living and bedrooms of my dozens of neighbors across the street. I dodge creepy crack addicts who yell at themselves, and heft the baby in the car seat uphill to my car, which has been broken into at least once. I think my country dreams will come true someday, but for now, I’ll just be thankful to live in close proximity to so many wonderful places to eat, shop and walk. There are, after all, many splendid things about the city of Seattle, and it’s not like I can’t drive for a couple of hours in any direction and find myself up a tranquil mountain!