Sunday, December 7, 2008

This small town

There's a certain quiet out here that's present only when the sun is just coming up or almost down that I don't find any other time of the day. Even with the three children scurrying about early this morning, digging out snow pants and waterproof gloves, excited and giddy about last night's snowfall, it is a time of magic and wonder, where the past and present collide and it seems like it might last forever.

It is these times that endear me to my surroundings, growing closer each day not to the house, but to this place and the outdoors that we also call ours. I went to NYC once, and although it undeniably has an energy and specialness all it's own, after three days I felt terribly closed in, stifled, wary, scared, caged. I need to be able to see past the nearest building in order to feel alive.

We are hardly out in the middle of nowhere, living so close to a major city full of every convenience imaginable, but driving home just a little further than most, it truly feels like an escape to a simpler and slower pace. Imagination thrives here, nurtured by time, beauty and the lack of constant comparison to ones neighbors. It causes an inward focus that nurtures the soul from which grows generosity and outreach among some, keeping many small town traditions and values very much alive. The people that are drawn here are a diverse group and yet the same in some very basic ways.

So while I was surprised to meet a neighbor this weekend who used to work with Joelle Hoverson (!) (of Purl Soho, the purl bee and Purl Patchwork) at Martha Stewart Living, I wasn't surprised at the same time. That's what it's like here, on the one hand we live a few miles from an $18 million dollar mansion, and on the other we are keenly aware that nearly 100 homes in the county still have no running water. Certain areas are saturated with horse farm after horse farm, while our church feeds 20-30 families every Wednesday night from its food pantry. It is a study in contrasts even though it only boasts a population of about 26,000.

And here we are, somewhere in the middle to witness it all, just trying to make our lives our own and raise children who love life and each other. We are growing right along with them, continually uncovering parts of ourselves that were either buried or never there to begin with, amazed at the confluence of all the bits and pieces of our lives, taking credit for none of it, but languishing in the wonder and glory of a greater plan than we ever could have imagined.

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