My folks recently bought a lovely place out in the country. Literally in the middle of the woods, the new location is quite a change from the big city where my parents raised their family. I’m talking bugs everywhere, no phone reception, and no Super Targets within a 100-mile radius. We’re really roughing it.
Despite the lack of big-city conveniences, I fell in love with the place immediately. Spending time in the middle of nowhere can be quite therapeutic. I want to share some lessons I learned after spending a week in the country:
- Only when you reconnect with nature do you realize how out-of-touch you are. So you may not have texting or internet access out in the boondocks. But once you accept that you don’t need those things to survive, a sense of liberation washes over you. You hear the sound of silence for the first time, with no tv or radio in the background or cars whizzing by outside. You notice little things like lizards and wildflowers and interesting shrubs. Remember when you were a child and the world was full of awe? Reconnecting with nature renews that child-like sense of wonder.
- If you’re very quiet, you can see your forest friends. I was sitting by the lake with a pair of binoculars one evening when I discovered a pileated woodpecker living in a tree on the property. What a treat! Sitting quietly with nature may seem like a waste of time to those who are all about productivity (a.k.a. busybodies). But I’ve heard it said that God speaks to us in whispers, and we must be still and silent to hear.
- Country music makes sense. You may hate country music because it’s all about tractors, bars, and railroads or whatever. But after a week in the country, the genre makes a whole lot of sense to me. It’s about the simple yet important aspects of life–the only ones you know when you’ve never stepped foot in a fancy city: love, life lessons, family. Not sex and clubbing and “stacks of them hundreds” (thanks, but I’ll pass on the Chris Brown and Justin Bieber).
- Working out at a gym is easy compared to working out in nature. Maybe it has to do with being exposed to the elements. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the uneven landscape. But something about being in the great outdoors, getting your hands dirty, and working in the sun is so much more physically challenging/exhausting than any amount of mileage on the treadmill. A hiking trail or kayaking trip, cutting grass or pruning trees are all good alternatives to a traditional workout.
- If you can’t survive off macaroni, minute rice, and canned soup…you better stay in the city. Let me explain: our house came without a fridge included, so for a while we didn’t have the luxury of keeping meat or dairy products around. The nearest store or restaurant is several miles away. Even with a fridge, it’s not like we can just make a quick trip to get more milk, or run to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger whenever we want. If you can’t suck it up and do without these small luxuries, you’ll never make it in the country (or in the event of an apocalypse, for that matter… just teasing!).