Sunday, 28 February 2010

Life on the first floor of a ten story building

A couple of months ago I was talking with my friend Tracy over Skype. She recently moved to a hay farm and was talking about the amazing feeling of walking out your door, looking over acres and acres of land and seeing no one. To Tracy, the open spacious emptiness feels nice, free, peaceful. She said that before moving there (they moved because her husband went to work with his dad on the farm), when she and her family lived in the suburbs in California, her father-in-law would come visit and ask them how they could stand living so close to other people. Just knowing that right on the other side of the fence were more houses, and random strangers were constantly walking by made his skin crawl I guess.

She never got it. Never felt crowded in, wasn't bugged by the small piece of land her family called home. And then they moved to the farm. And then she breathed in and looked out over the open space and understood. She told me that no one just happens to walk by. If a car or truck comes driving up it's because they're coming to see you. And all of that openness and space feels really really good.

So a few mornings ago I was standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth, remembering my conversation with Tracy. I was thinking about the suburbs, about hanging out in the backyard and knowing that you're surrounded by three other backyards. I was remembering a house in California that we lived in for a short time and how people would sometimes walk by who we didn't know. I was trying to decide how I felt about it all.

And then I heard the sound of a man standing directly above my head peeing. And then I heard him flush his toilet.

And that was the first time in my life I ever considered hay farming as my next possible career.