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Shangri la

January 29, 2011

While I am still getting used to living in a rural area (things like driving 10 minutes to the nearest grocery store and the fact that “white pizza” is a completely unheard of concept around here are driving me nuts), there is one thing that’s keeping me sane. Every morning I wake up and open the curtain that covers the teeny tiny window that looks out on our back yard and all I see are trees. There are literally miles of them behind our house. If I’m feeling stressed, I can just look out the kitchen window that shares the view and calm down.

This is not to say we aren’t surround by neighbors in the front and sides. In addition, we live at the “t” of a busy intersection. You’d think that rural would mean quiet and peaceful but the stop sign directly across the street from us inspires all sorts of types to express their anger. I’m discovering all the different horns out there, too.  I heard one today that sounded like a children’s toy, followed soon after by one blasted out of an eighteen wheeler. Add in a fire station nearby that needs to go through the intersection at top speed and it’s honk city right out front our door. I actually kind of find it funny. Let me explain. I arrived at the honking party pretty late. During my senior year of college, one of my best friends introduced me to the fantastic release that is a good punch on the horn. I have been avidly making up for lost time ever since.

It might seem that we’re at kind of a scary meeting of the cars, but because there are cement posts preventing people from plowing into our living room, it doesn’t make me nervous. Grabbing the mail off the street and pulling out of our current snow bank situation does, but I do a good job of telling myself that I do not have get it or get there RIGHT NOW and I wait for cars to pass. I have panic attacks for people backing out of their driveways, but since we have enough room to turn around, I don’t have them for myself. Basically, what I’m trying to establish here is that our house is like a reverse mullet, it’s “party” in the front and “business” in the back. And by “business,” I mean “blissful nothing.”

In all the places I have ever lived, as it is for most people, I have been surrounded by neighbors. At my parents’ house, where I grew up, they only have them on three sides but across a little marsh, you’re still looking at other houses. I never realized how good I had it until I left. I’ve lived in cities where I could reach out and practically touch the next building. I have been packed into three family houses that are packed among others that are packed among others, and every window looked at someone’s house. Oscillating back and forth between these cramped settings has driven me crazy. So even though standing in my back yard, I can see one house at a diagonal distance, if I want to see it out of my kitchen or bedroom window, I have to strain hard to do so.  Instead, I see trees followed by trees that have some trees behind them. And somehow, it’s made a hell of a lot of difference keeping the insanity at bay.

I took this photo out of my upstairs window. It’s through the screen for two reasons. First) I don’t trust Piper. He’s liable to launch himself into a pile of pristine snow, yelling “Wheee” the whole way down. And Second) I like the inside/outside juxtaposition. I can’t get this view without being in the cocoon of our little house and I’m perfectly content staying right here. And when spring comes, just look for me in the trees.

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