2020 Grateful 3: Revelling in the rural

I was born into a city. I might have been about 2 when we moved to a provincial town. And then to another city. And then to a village. I’d spend the next however many years boomeranging between urban and rural, flirting for a time with the metropolitan before embracing the bucolic. At any given moment in time, I was happy where I was. I never found myself in the city wishing I was in the country or in the country wishing I was in the city. Somehow my moods have matched my modes of living. At this point in time, when a lot of my git up and go seems to have got up and gone, I find it hard to imagine moving back to city living. Apart from the massive hole not being able to travel has left in my life, I’m surprisingly content with wandering the village streets (all two of them) and getting to know the village dogs. [There’s a dog in my future. That if has morphed silently into a when. It’s just a matter of time.]

We took a walk through the top fields the other day and ventured a little further than we had done last time we’d taken that route. Since we’d last been there, a couple of new colonies of bees had been established and I wondered which of the three villagers advertising honey for sale owned them. These hives are as close as we get to office buildings; they’re as busy as it gets

Further on, we had to sidestep several times. Massive trees had toppled in the summer storms. I wondered if anyone had heard them fall. I had notions of camping in the woods one night and staying awake just to see what happens when the sun goes down. I’m not sure though I’d have the bladder for it. I turned around once and lost sight of himself. I could feel the anxiety. I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag on the best of days and the panic, though brief, was there. I didn’t help that we’d just finished a really dark  French series on Netflix – Zone Blanche (Black Spot) – and I’m now looking at woods and forests and trees in a completely new light.

But then we turned a corner and came to a break in the trees. Stretching out before us were the wonderful Kis-Balaton reed beds. These are my sea. This is where I come to feel that soul-blowing sense of space that I’ve only ever found when standing by the edge of an ocean or on the top of a dune in a desert. No people. No houses. No human sound. Just the deafening sound of nature.

 I am truly blessed to have found a home in the Kis-Balaton. Not a day goes by without my giving thanks for all the twists and turns and detours that brought me here.

A couple of days ago, wandering over to see the RWs for afternoon tea, we ran into a friend from the village who was entertaining visitors. The seven of us stood, socially distanced, and chatted briefly. The seven of us on the main street of a one-shop village in the middle of marshland had come from six different countries. We’d travelled separately but we’d ended up in this one place on this one day. Diversity isn’t the prerogative of the larger towns and cities. We have more than 240 species of birds that call this place home and so far I’ve identified ten different nationalities living in the village. That’s not bad going for a place that isn’t signposted.

 

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