Sunday, December 14, 2008

Babylon in my rear-view mirror

Darkness came early on one of the last days in November. What had started as snow flurries had grown in intensity throughout the day and now, the snow was blowing sideways. The little truck obediently leaned into the hill its task it was to climb. Thankfully, out in this remote pocket of the wild, many of the roads are gravel and the tires were able to grab onto more than enough traction to take the truck easily up the hill. I began to think about now drastically my life had changed in a very short time. No convenience store just around the corner, no twenty-minute pizza delivery, no modern highway system. I marveled at how I no longer missed those things. Like so many who are still living in the city, I found that convenience, access to goods, services, and a choice of restaurants does not come without a price. While there, I found myself surrounded by people who had bought into the false idea that if they could just acquire enough stuff, they would be truly happy. So they worked hard to buy all kinds of things and they still aren't happy and they don't know why so now they're angry and they drive that way. With that realization came my plan to escape "The Land of the Eternally Distracted" and to seek a more sensible life in the country. The first night I lit the wood stove in my new cabin I realized that I had just traded the sound of blaring car horns and the "thump!, thump!" of sub-woofers with the quiet lowing of cows, and the neighbor's incessantly barking dog with the distant singing of coyotes. My nights would no longer be punctuated with the piercing cry of emergency vehicle sirens, but with those of the hoot owl. During the day, wild turkeys "cluck" to each other in the wooded hollow outside my back door. I fully embraced my new country life and have never looked back.
Slowly, my little truck climbs the rutted gravel road that leads out of the valley and up into the hills that surround the Gasconade River. With the windshield wipers keeping time, the lights pierced the darkness and illuminated the flakes of blowing snow. How grateful I felt this night, just three days past Thanksgiving, and two days since my birthday, to be driving on this isolated country road. Things are different now and here life is allowed time to unfold. I knew I had made the right decision in moving here and what had been lost in leaving the city can never compare with what has been found, here in these Missouri Ozark hills.

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