Thursday, April 3, 2014

You can take the girl from the country, but not the country from the girl

Daily Prompt-  Look out your back window or door — describe what you see, as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.

I look out my back door, and fences greet me.  They subtly remind me that I am boxed in by neighbors; they tell me that I am now an adult and should be to busy to care about what lies out the back door anymore.  I can see patches of grass and blue sky, but there is something missing; and I can’t help but feel sad about the way humans build and close out the nature that God created.

My absolute favorite years of my life were spent as a child in the country.  Growing up, I could look out my back door and see rolling fields of brown and green hues.  I could hear the farm animals in the distance, and I loved the sound of chickens, cows, horses, and dogs.  I would watch the Amish farmers cultivate the deep rich soil with their team of horses and plow.    Soon, life would begin to spring from the quiet ground.  By summer, there were miles of corn dancing and waving in the country breezes that would blow off the mountain.  I would stand beside the field and look up as the corn would tower above my head and tickle my face with its leaves and tassels.  Fall would come and turn the corn stalks that were left standing into a lonely brown color.  They reminded me of a remnant left behind to face the cold weather on their own.  Pumpkins would start to fill the neighboring fields with shades of brilliant orange.  I would spend countless hours outside gazing at the mountain as it would change into its autumn garment.  Slowly the green leaves of the trees were swept into golds, auburns, mauves, crimsons, and lemon colors.  Then the snow would come and blanket everything in a deep sleep.

I had the most beautiful childhood experiences in the countryside outside my back door.  Spring would find me searching for the first crocus so I could hope that life was starting again.  Then the daffodils and tulips would follow with their cheery faces.  I could not help but feel happy when they smiled at me.  I would find the carefully constructed nests of the robins and then peek in on the eggs from time to time.  I was fascinated when the eggs slowly broke open and scrawny little red creatures appeared.  But those alien-like birdlings were soon covered in down and would quickly devour the food their parents brought them, until they were finally old enough and big enough to strike out on their own.  I would say goodbye as the nest emptied and hoped that next spring would bring Mom and Dad Robin back again to start another family.
Summers were full of dandelions and butterflies.  I would run through the grass barefoot, playing tag and tug-of-war with the dogs.  Dad would grill something on the weekend evenings, and we would have a grand picnic outside.  There was nothing quite like a summer rain; the smell after a rainstorm was indescribable.  I could watch a thunderstorm coming in- the trees would whip back and forth; the sky would turn shades of dark blue, green, and purple; huge clouds would mount in the distance like giants preparing for attack; hail and rain would pelt the house; and I would quickly run downstairs to seek shelter from the booms of thunder and the white strikes of lightning.  Rain meant that there was mud to use in my pretend bakery, and I would create mud cakes and cookies and other “delicious” pastries.  My brother and I would spend our day outside until we were tired and grass-stained, and then fall into a happy sleep while the lightning bugs were our nightlights and the crickets sang us bedtime lullabyes.

Fall was filled with raking leaves and then jumping into the huge piles we gathered.  There were searches for crickets to feed to my pet praying mantis that I loved dearly.  I thoroughly enjoyed the break from the humidity of June, July, and August and relished the cold nip in the air that would turn my nose red.  The last of the garden would be gathered before letting it retire for the next few months, and the whole earth seemed to be preparing for hibernation.  Campfires and hayrides were autumn highlights that will long be treasured in my bank of memories.  Nothing can replace the smell of the fire, the taste of the s’mores, and the laughing with friends and family while bumping along on scratchy hay bales.

Winter brought snow with it, which meant more outdoor fun.  There were snowball fights, snowmen creating, snowfort and igloo building, and fox and geese games.  There was a little group of trees at the corner of the house that made a tiny hideaway which became magical after a snowstorm.  In my childhood imagination, that place became enchanted and seemed to hold ancient tales of adventure.  My very favorite part of winter was when it would start snowing right at dusk.  I liked to stand outside and feel the flakes falling on my face.  It seemed as if I was the only person in the white, quiet, magical world around me.  In the morning, I would look out the back door and see nothing but white.  There were no human footsteps on it yet to destroy the purity of the beauty.

Those were the things that I saw out my back door; those were the moments that are priceless; those are the “back door” occasions that I wish every child could experience.  My back door no longer looks over those things; but if I close my eyes, I can still see the country joys that awaited me outside my childhood’s back door!