You can, they say, take the girl out of the country. But you can’t take the country out of the girl. It’s true.
This morning I hoed our city garden. It’s small, but at least we have one this year. Last spring Billy was still too ill and I was too pregnant to even consider a vegetable patch, much to Elizabeth’s disappointment. So this year Billy tilled the sunny spot at the upper edge of our hilltop yard, and he and the older kids took a trip to Paul’s Feed and Seed for plants—tomatoes, squash, melons, and a few other things. They planted them and I took pictures. Now a few little blades of grass have begun to sprout up around our tender plants, and it’s my turn. I hoed between the rows and between the plants. It didn’t take long. Like I said, our garden is small. But it was just the activity this displaced homesteader needed.
I have a beautiful life. God has led so clearly each step of the way, and I’ve never had a doubt I’m in His will and that this spot is where He has me. Which is a good thing, because I really miss my old way of life. Tears come to my eyes sometimes when I realize that, at least right now, my children won’t wake up early on a chilly morning to go see the wobbly new calf born in the night or gather warm brown eggs from under cranky hens or sit on the front porch and watch the sunset or ride horses in the pasture. Sure they can do those things when they visit their grandparents, and I’m grateful for that, but it’s not the same as having them available to us daily.
Without any suggestion from me at all, the kids say, “We wish we could live in the country. We wish we were farmers. We want a horse.” Right now that’s simply not an option. In fact, it’s a little absurd to even consider, since we can’t even keep up with our yard. (I have a hard time moving to the outdoors when indoors still needs so much attention.) But I look down the road and dream. Maybe…someday…
We live in one of the most serene old neighborhoods I’ve ever seen. I’m fortunate and thankful. But I hope that one day I’ll see a little more space between me and my nearest neighbor, a couple acres with a big garden, fruit trees, and a few hens to scratch around in the dirt. A milk goat or two would be nice. It may never happen. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK. I believe with all my heart that God is not limited to the country. After all, the early church began and exploded in large cities, and one day we’ll live in the New Jerusalem. If God keeps me in the city forever, I’ll accept it with joy, knowing that He predestines our places of residence. But still there’s the tug of love and longing for what I knew first.
I’m at peace with whatever God decides. Whether for a short time or forever, there are many things to love about the city. And whether for a short time or forever, we can be city farmers. As I gain momentum and conquer my home, I can move to the yard and help keep it orderly. I can help with our little garden and plant flowers and herbs. I can share with my neighbors and feed my family from the bounty we grow in our little patch of earth. I can picnic with my babies under the giant oaks and listen to the wind in the branches. God is good, whether in city or country. That’s what this farm girl will never forget.
P.S. I have to add that I wrote this a couple weeks ago after I had weeded the garden. Right now it is all full of grass again. I think my farmgirl self needs to spend another morning with the hoe, don't you?