Birds were trilling outside my window as I woke up in my idyllic new neighbourhood today. Of course, a tractor was humming too, but it was refreshing to breathe in the crisp country air. Such is life beyond the city limits.
I grew up in the country and have always considered myself a bush rat as opposed to a city puppy. It’s a mindset, really, being a Country Girl, and it comes with a learned set of eccentricities.
My heritage was called into question recently when I was escorting an elderly gentleman to an appointment. “You must be from the country to have a car this dirty,” he remarked as he got into my Apollo.
Then, while he scraped bits of toast, pens, carrot stubs and my horse whip from the front seat to spruce it up a little, I basked in the idea that my country inheritance has given me a lifelong excuse to have a filthy car.
However, after living in cities for six years, I have a greater affinity with metro living. I still love the open paddocks that stretch for miles and the silence that is broken only by the wind whistling through the trees and a tractor making hay. For instance, today I was thrilled to wake up and realise I had sporadic phone reception. I loved that my view was not interrupted by an overpass or a tall building.
But my inner-city-theatre-going-latte-swilling side came to the fore as I switched on my laptop and connected to the web. Thank God there is internet out here!
I dragged my espresso machine out of the car and got down to the business of checking news headlines, Facebook and, of course, blogging.
I emailed a few mates then got on the blower and called a few others. Clearly, I’m happy to live in the bush, but less impressed by the idea of going it alone. Or maybe I’m just easing myself into the new way of living.
The best part was that I could be sitting outside, overlooking a succulent crop of hay or lucerne or rice or something like that, and be chatting to my mates about the shenanigans at the party on Friday night. And so the divide between city and country lessens.
It astounds me that when I’m engrossed in my city existence, which I’m already romanticising into a life filled with art gallery visits, top-notch restaurants and non-stop parties, I forget so easily about what’s on offer elsewhere.
I have seen three people so far today. One was on a tractor, another was in a truck and the third in a boring old car. Without prompting, all three waved at me as they passed.
Not an exuberant wave-goodbye-as-i-drive-off-into-the-sunset-and-pop-your-should-from-its-socket type wave, but a laconic subtle wave. Just four fingers coming off the wheel to say ‘you’re here, I’m here and ain’t that great.’
I love that gesture and the sense of community I feel even though I’ve been here for all of five minutes.
Or perhaps I’m being all city about it and over-thinking a wave. Typical.
But, to me, that’s what the country is all about. I find it slightly simpler lifestyle and that’s a good thing. It’s waking up in the morning and not hearing a thousand SUVs rushing to get their kids to school, but instead noting the bus trundling past.
It’s the ease of trotting out to the garden in the morning to grab some lettuce and tomatoes. I have to add here that my father’s vegie garden is prolific. I came across a pumpkin today sitting up with some flowers about a metre above the ground. “That’s not right,” I thought. “Pumpkins grow on the ground.” A closer inspection revealed that, in fact, it was a tomato grown on my dad’s secret compost mix.
It’s all so lovely. Maybe it strikes such a chord because it reminds me of my childhood, sitting in a garden and devouring an entire crop of beans in one sitting.
Anyway I’m not going to question why I love it so much. I’m just going to indulge in one of the delightful pumpkin scones my mum picked up at the Pumpkin Festival yesterday – yes, that’s right, a festival for pumpkins. It was one of the better festivals, according to my dad. It was certainly much better than the Brussels Sprout Festival.
So, I’ll enjoy my scone, but I’ll tell you all about it on the internet. And maybe next time I’m driving through the city I’ll try waving at every passing motorist.