The sound of a single engine plane flying over on a quiet sunny day always reminds me of the quiet times I had playing alone in the orchards of rural Ventura County as a kid. I can close my eyes and picture myself there and almost smell the orange blossoms. What awesome times, before getting dislodged and exposed to the real, cruel, world.
I’m sitting here this morning, before the rush of everyone getting ready for church. Outside my window I can hear the frogs in our creek. I was discussing with my wife yesterday of how it’s almost a necessity to live next to water.
When we first married, we lived next to a small lake in the Sierra Nevada’s. It was what I called my “cowboy cabin”. It had no insulation, was drafty, but it had a deck I could fish off. It was rough for a girl raised “having’ things”. So we moved further down the hill.
We ended up still in the mountains, but we lived right on a creek. The sounds of that creek drowned out the world. When in that home, nothing matter but us. We actually had to cross a foot bridge to get to our house, and it was like a delineation of leaving the world behind. Creek to the front and sides, mountains behind us.
Next thing you know, children came along and we moved down into town, and for years I was restless away from my water. Now here I sit, not in town, but with a neighbor on one side, neighbors above, and across the street. But to one side of our lot there is a year round creek.
I purposely made little formations of rock to make sure I could hear the creek. Sometimes it’s a little fall of water as if a brook, other times it sounds like a rushing river. But, as peaceful and soothing as it is, it’s starting to become less and less of a pacifier.
As a boy I spent much time in the mountains. It seems the wilderness had left it’s mark on me and I find myself longing for the dark, windy paths again. I regret that my son who is now 12, has only had little tastes of this, and I often feel like I may have failed him. I wish I would have allowed myself to return to the mountains earlier, so he could benefit from the education that only truly living in the outdoors can provide.
Now I’m drawn back in a way that I can’t describe, and I often find myself perusing real estate listings of places not many would care to dwell. I say “when the kids go off to school”, but I fear that will be too late. If I wait that long, they will have missed their chance for a real schooling.