It’s good to live in the city, to walk down the busy street to a crowded restaurant on a Friday night, to head to the bookstore after dinner. It’s exciting to work in Washington, D.C., to take my lunch walks around the Reflecting Pond at the Capitol, to see the President’s motorcade race down the street every so often. There’s nowhere I’d rather live and work than where I am right now. But sometimes I miss the country: the trees, the forests, the silence, and the huge backyards of my hometown. When I start to feel that way, I think about where we hope to be in ten years or so, and I’m able to enjoy and appreciate our years in the city right now, even more.
It’s one of those early morning summer days in July where the sun wakes you up (not rudely like an alarm clock, making you start, but kindly and slowly, in such a way that you’re happy to wake up and feel the sun beaming down upon your face). Because it’s that kind of a day, when I first open my eyes, I immediately feel the breeze gently blowing the curtains in the windows; the curtains are parted just enough for me to see directly into the treetops and branches that bump our bedroom window. Tanner’s still sleeping. I pat him on the stomach, roll out of bed, and slip down the stairs.
I collect my swim bag, my phone, my keys, and my shoes. Walking on the lawn, my feet are soaked by the early-morning dew. I pause by the mailbox to pop on my sneakers, and to look around. The flowers are beautiful. They are everywhere, tumbling out of planters, spilling over the stones; colors all of different hues. The ivy nearly covers an entire wall of the house. I walk to the pool.
When I get home, I collect the eggs from the coop and walk inside to find Tanner at the table eating breakfast. He hands me my oatmeal and berries. Joining him, I work on my paper, and then move on to lesson plans. Throughout the morning, we chat; we share articles, and we edit each other’s papers. Every wall of our old stone house is filled with windows, and they are all open to the breeze.
After lunch, we head outside. We harvest tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries. I weed, straighten, mulch. We feed the chickens. Tanner talks to the goats. The dogs are at our feet every way we turn. The yard is surrounded by thick, ancient trees that tower above us. Save for our voices, and those of the animals, it’s silent. Because it’s that kind of a day, the sun dutifully stays behind clouds all afternoon.
In the late afternoon, we make bread and rolls and wash the veggies. Neighbors stop by to chat, to buy bread, cheese, flowers, and produce. They stay awhile. Family members walk over to say hello.
For dinner, we throw flour and eggs into the KitchenAid. I feed the dough into the pasta cutter. Tanner grills the fresh onions, tomatoes, and squash. The smell of grilling vegetables, oil, and basil is everywhere. We eat dinner on the front porch, surrounded by the breeze that’s hung around all day long, chatting. Because it’s that kind of a day, there’s ice cream in the freezer.
And as all good days must, after reading late into the evening, listening to the ballgame, hearing the crickets, smelling the honeysuckle, it ends.
It was that kind of a day. It wasn’t necessarily special, or extraordinary. It was ordinary. But it was a perfect day.