Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
By Nancy Sullivan
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What an adventure that 20 years had been. We would officially move into our almost-finished, rock and rough cedar ranch house in 1980 during the hottest summer on record in our state. Anything that stayed in place for more than 20 seconds either dried up or was devoured by grasshoppers numbered by Biblical standards. By mid-July we were walking on dry, crispy grass that would remain brown until the following spring.
After the initial excitement of building and moving into our new home had worn off, I was left with the reality that we were literally living in the middle of nowhere with all manner of creepy crawlies that were certainly much smaller and less lethal than the ones that existed in my imagination. A reality that meant many hours of alone time and facing many small emergencies that inevitably came when my knight/cowboy could not be there to resolve them.
My husband would travel the 60 miles to the city to work, adding a two-hour round-trip commute to an already long work day. This city girl would survive by staying active in our new church and investing in the girls’ world of basketball and cheer leading in their rural school and even more church activities.
We would experience sudden downpours of rain that would wash out the low-water crossing on the only trail from the county road to our front door. The expression, “Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise” was a statement of fact for us on more than one occasion. One of the heaviest snow and ice storms on record would mean four days of intermittent power outages and lots of family togetherness until the snow stopped long enough for my husband to clear a path with our tractor. I was actually a little disappointed when the school buses were able to reclaim miles and miles of dirt and gravel roads and my husband would reclaim his lane on the highway to his two jobs.
I miss the simpler pleasures of that time: A roaring fire in the over-sized fireplace and the wonderful smell that only charred firewood can offer. Along that same vein, I miss the beginning of fall and spending long afternoons raking leaves and twigs from around the pond into huge piles that would also fill the air with aromatic cinders and smoke. Our front door faced the west, and the sunsets seemed to be an inscribed love letter from God to our small family. Rainbows would come and go as they hovered just above the tree line that encircled our remote piece of the rock.
Most importantly, that time in the country was marked by a dependency on God that would not have happened at any other time or under any other circumstance I’ve experienced. The isolation within the walls of that remote haven meant my spending many more hours with Him than a busier, more distracted lifestyle could have accommodated. Our stay there meant my faith became more of a commitment than a convenience.
When the time came for the new owners to begin living their dream on our farm, my final walk over the cleared front half of the 80 acres was as serene as any place on earth. A new-fallen snow blanketed the thirty-five acres of pasture surrounding our home and glistened peacefully among tree branches heavy with the white, moist powder. I was careful to photograph and video ahead of each step to keep from spoiling the untouched serenity. It was a still and quiet “Goodbye” that I never wanted to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB) says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Whatever our future may bring, living in rural America was that defining season that will forever remain deeply etched into my heart and mind.
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