Some mornings I watch the fog roll over the mountains into the valley, other mornings I get up early when the sun is beginning to crest, or I sneak outside while it’s dark, look up at the stars so bright it feels like I’m in a planetarium able to reach up and touch them. I feel fortunate to witness the glory of nature and God’s creation in such a serene setting. After moving into a fixer-upper a few months ago; part of the moving exodus that’s taking place all over our country from cities to the suburbs, from the suburbs to the rural countryside. The change has been good, but it hasn’t come without a few adjustments.
I really wasn’t prepared for the sudden, yet welcoming downturn in life’s movement. One of my new neighbors presented me with a bushel of fresh veggies. He moved up permanently a few years back from New York City, as he thrust the bounty at me, commenting, “Just a word of warning, the country life will suddenly hit, and a strange sense of boredom will set it.” I shrugged it off, laughing, “How could anyone be bored here?”
Now, several months in, I do get what he means. I have become comfortable lately just putzing around. There is still a lot of work to do. But the oomph that was there in the beginning has waned. I’ll get up in the morning look around at what needs to be done, have a second cup of coffee and it’s an, “eh, whatever.” A tremendous amount has been accomplished, but I think the country life has settled in a little too much.
What I am experiencing for the first time in many, many years is allowing myself to slow down to a crawl. The rush of working in and around New York City, turns one’s life into a series of getting things done in a “New York Minute,” it’s stressful to live like that and it’s stressful suddenly, not too.
Finding one’s ideal speed in the country takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight; this is a lifestyle adjustment. For instance, the box stores and chain supermarkets are a full hour plus away, trips are planned. On Long Island, where I moved from, an hour by train from NYC, it’s the capital of shopping for all things. If it didn’t exist in a 3-to 5-mile radius of my house, it simply didn’t exist.
Internet and cell service are sketchy. I wouldn’t call what I have as Internet; it’s a signal from a satellite. (Think a big round dish in the yard). There is a distinct difference. Until very recently, I could not make a call from my house, instead planning my calls to friends sitting in parking lots with great 5G coverage. It was a hallelujah moment to make a call from outside in the yard vs sitting next to the router and hoping for the best. I guess the booster decided to work. Those have been the little stressors but trust me, it’s not a bad adjustment. I tell people living here is like revisiting the mid-90s, complete with 2G: No zoom, no live streaming, bub-bye to Netflix. I even have to travel to a 5G area to post this, on my phone using the WordPress app. Pardon the appearance, not ideal working conditions.
Now the best part; silence, tons of nature and dark skies. To venture outside and not hear noise from cars and people is incredible. I can go for a run, walk or hike for miles and I won’t see a single person or car.
A friend warned me about heading into the woods unprotected, I shrugged it off. Then I got stopped by a hunter on one of my jaunts in the woods to warn me that a pack of coyotes ran a bow hunter up a tree a few weeks back and that New Jersey nuisance bears are being relocated to our area; so, get a pistol permit before venturing back in. Warning heeded, I start gun classes in November. It’s always good to take advice from those in the know.
To provide some perspective on how rural it is; the neighbor across the street is on 5,000 acres, and thousands and thousands of state land surround me; it’s their world, I’m just passing through. As a passionate vegan it is purely a precaution that I would carry it, but I will carry it, learn to use it responsibly and continue taking classes.
The key to making rural living work is to carve out time for enjoyment, it’s important to have those moments.
Circling back to the dark skies. I am so thrilled I was introduced to stargazing. I am absolutely addicted to it. The skies on Long Island were never really dark enough to see what I see up here. Also, I might have just been too busy to look up!
I have an app on my phone that lets me know what to look for when it gets dark and I’m going to get myself a pair of good binoculars. Lately, I plop myself down on the front deck, before sunrise for the most amazing show on earth usually around 4:30-5:30 am. The skies are the darkest then, I’m told. So, if anyone needs to reach me, at that hour, you know where to find me!
There are many apps for stargazing, the one I really like that I purchased is: Night Sky, which has a paid and free version