The other day, in what I understood to be a momentary passionate outburst, my husband announced that he wanted to move out of the city and into the country, somewhere, he said, “in the middle of nowhere.” He had just come home from work and was still wearing his jacket, his bag slung over his shoulder. “Which states would you be willing to consider?”
As an east coast native living on the west coast I have always felt a sense of one side or the other–ignoring, for the most part, the whole middle part of our country. I’m a country girl at heart, having grown up wandering the woods, fields, and creeks of my youth in a small town in upstate, or as the locals call it, western New York. My earliest memories are of being free–free to roam, free to explore, free to wander far from home base because there was really nowhere but woods to wander to. There was always a dog, or two, at my side. Either my own dog, or the neighbors’ dogs, whom I would stop by to borrow before I headed out for a day of adventure and exploration in the woods. If I ever ventured out solo, often one of the dogs would end up joining me, they too having the freedom to wander and explore. My childhood was idyllic, and while I actually grew up within walking distance of town, a short drive would push me truly into the middle of nowhere, and it was here, and in the woods, that I was always the happiest.
But I also love this city of 600,000 people I live in now–the coffee shops and restaurants, its kitschy boutiques and second run “brew-n-view” movie theaters, the ability to eat vegan with ease, and walk into almost any pet store in town and purchase raw meat, locally sourced and free-range. I imagine that moving from city life to country life would be a bit of a shock to my system after so long, but when I do imagine it I feel a sense of excitement, and if I dare admit it–that squeezy-chest joy deep within that I used to get when I was a kid as I went to bed on Christmas Eve. While I know it’s a feeling based purely in an imaginary world, one where I am once again wandering the woods or open fields behind my house with a handful of dogs, ranging far and wide, foraging or simply exploring, I can’t help but revel in the fantasy. After my walk I would return home to my cabin-like house, big enough for my writer husband to have a room of his own to write in, a roomy kitchen with lots of counter space for all the fermenting and canning I would be doing, and a mud room, of course, for the dogs. We’ll probably drive a truck, with sandbags thrown in the back for winter driving, my closet will be full of jeans and hiking boots, and I’ll never wear make-up again (not that, you know, I actually wear it now). Then I awake from my reverie.
“Any of them,” I answer. “I’d be willing to move to any of them.” Because when you’re dreaming, why the hell not?