Monday, August 2, 2010
As a child, one of my favorite stories was "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse." It wasn't necessarily the specific version of the story we owned that I loved but rather the contrast between the lives of the two mice. I used to think the message behind the story was somewhat of a "grass is always greener" idea, but I now think otherwise. I now think we are supposed to see ourselves in both parties.
I say this because I increasingly find myself to be an in-between mouse. And by this, I don't mean a suburban mouse--neither in the country nor the city--but rather a mouse who craves things from both extremes. I never thought I'd be a city girl until I moved to Montreal, and I now find myself feeling like the city is home...that is, until I go to the country!
We found ourselves last week in a place that is absolutely breathtaking. Dirt roads without a car on them wind through miles of forest, adulterated only by two-hundred year old farmhouses. It's hard to believe such a place exists when you are standing at a bus stop in busy urban center, yet when you're walking down a dirt path and can hear nothing but your toddler, crickets, and the wind rustling the leaves, you feel you are in a place that is clearly natural, normal, and somehow "right."
This is the second summer we've made this trip, and it has no doubt cemented itself into our regular summer rhythm. The chicks drank it up like almost nothing I've seen, and slept like they never have in their lives. It was as if such an expanse of nature was a vitamin of which they had been deficient for years. Seeing children in the country is a funny thing. You can see that they belong there, wild fairy creatures no more out of place than the birds, bats, bugs, squirrels, and other beings fluttering about out of the corner of your eye.
Of course, being a member of the "drink-it-up-while-we're-here" club, I didn't take NEARLY enough photos, and most of them were of the NON-country part!
We enjoyed ourselves by:
**Spending time with very close and very dear friends
**Watching bats at dusk
**Swimming in a massive natural pool created in and filtered by a dammed-up river
**Eating delicious meals consisting of organic food from the local farms
**Visiting the charming and tiny local farmers' market
**Sleeping long, deep, heavy sleeps
**Just being in the quiet green of our surroundings
**Visiting a small-town fair
And what did I take the most photos of? The fair, of course--the least green and nature-y part of our trip. Friday morning we visited The Boonville County Fair. Don't you just love the name? We rode rides, ate LOTS of junk (hot dogs, pizza, fresh-squeezed lemonade, homemade potato chips, baklava, ice cream, and fried dough....and I'm not exaggerating), and watched a pig race. Yes, a pig race! To be fair, I didn't actually see too much of it. My friend and I sat on benches with our two smallest people while Ninna and her five-year-old best friend positioned themselves right next to the track. I'm not sure how I feel about pig races, but at least I can cross that off my to-do-before-I-die list.
Here are some photo highlights of the fair:The kids and I all seemed to be having a bit of withdrawal today, certainly due to our re-entry into the urban realm. As a way to talk about our feelings, we'll be reading and re-reading our new(ish) copy of Jan Brett's Town Mouse, Country Mouse. I've written about Jan Brett before here, and this little gem is just as wonderful and charming as her other books.
So now I'm off to plan all the fun urban adventures we'll be squeezing out of the last month of summer. Adios green magic; we'll see you next year...