I tried to be a city girl.
A year after my high school graduation, when two semesters at college had come to an end, I was stuck. I felt penned in by the spaciousness of my hometown. Unsure of where to go or what to do, I signed with a nanny agency, and found myself on a plane to New York City.
In between my responsibilities for the girls I cared for, my new friends and I would take the train into the city to explore. I loved the tall buildings, the way they swallowed me whole with their oppressive height. Narrow streets that bustled with people and yellow taxis moved me inside and out. The stores were expensive and glamorous. I bought pretzels on the corner and blushed at the catcalls of men as we walked down the filthy sidewalks.
New York was busy and full, completely opposite of the life I'd left in small-town Idaho. There were people of all shapes and colors, unabashed and forward. I thought I wanted to be one of them. I imagined myself in a loft with roommates, living a colorful, exciting life. I dreamed I would take taxis, ride the subway, and date men with dark hair and complexions, who spoke with exotic accents.
The 'city' has been my home a few times over the years. I do love the culture, the restaurants, the museums, the availability of 'something to do'. But, the truth is, I'm a country girl at heart, and when it comes to home, well, you know.
I have too many memories of wide and open. I am inseparably connected to the soil of my youth. I have spent days wandering country roads, picking flowers and breathing in the air that is untainted by exhaust, or fumes of any kind. I've shared my backyard with cattle, and skinny dipped in rivers and canals, where none but the catfish would see. My spirit longs for trees and mountains and spacious fields, where I can lay and watch the birds trace patterns on the clouds.
The town I live in is an absolutely perfect place. We have good restaurants, my children attend great schools and the 'city' is just a short drive away. The best part is the country feel. We have farms and fields, and, yes, my beloved mountains that I can see everyday. There are trees that house hawks, and the air is fresh and clean.
While I love returning to my childhood home, visiting the farms and river that hold cherished memories, I am happy here. Happy to have my heart firmly rooted in this place. A place where my children are growing up with connections to both the town and the land it's built on. They may not look back on farming or (gasp) skinny dipping. They may venture out and find themselves in a busy city. But, hopefully, they will know where their hearts are, and, they will have a little bit of country imprinted on their souls.