My post yesterday brought me many happy memories of growing up in the country. I don’t think about it often, but I also spent twenty years living in the city, so my life has sort of made a full circle. What I have been thinking about this morning is how my childhood in the country prepared me for living in the city. The transition was really quite easy for me, but I’m not sure if the opposite would have worked as well. I don’t know if a childhood in the city would have prepared me to live in the country! And I have found that many of my city friends are frightened and uncomfortable away from their sidewalks and skyscrapers.
My title this morning was the title of my grandmother’s newspaper column. I have many copies of her writings and she often spoke of the animals and plants surrounding them. She talked about neighbors and crops and weather. She lamented the sorry state of politics and progress. She wrote poetry and shared her hopes and prayers. She was the consummate country woman and proud of it!
I’m not sure that enough of our younger generation gives due respect to the quiet steadfastness of country women. I saw an older farm woman at a restaurant recently, and I noticed the “looks” that her appearance got from a couple of young women at a nearby table. She had rolled her braided hair up on the top of her head and she wore a long skirt and a long-sleeved shirt. I noticed that her hands were worn and calloused and bent with arthritis. But she also had perfect posture and a calm confidence. I wonder if the young girls know how inconsequential their “cuteness” will be in a few years, or how insignificant their wardrobe will become in comparison to their willpower and dignity.
My childhood in the country gave me stability and an understanding of the rhythm and flow of life. No matter how often or where we moved, the seasons were the same, the harvests were the same, and the animals were the same. I saw things spring to life and sometimes die just as quickly. I worked hard at things I cared nothing about, just because they needed to be done. I worked long hours. I got hurt. I got over it. Great preparation for life.
I leave you with a poem from Della:
I think that I shall never see
A day so bright and fair,
It makes me want to fill my lungs,
With pure sweet country air.
It makes me want to grab some seed
And plant them in the earth,
And watch them resurrected
Along with spring’s rebirth.
To watch things coming from the ground,
Where once was cold dead sod,
Makes me want to heed the great command-
Be still and know that I am God!