Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Life We Could Live…


It was morning, when all of the “somethings” disappear back to where they come from.  It was safe once again to go outside.

We stepped down off of the porch, ready for a leisure walk through the country with my cousin.  “This is the path that I go running on each day.”  Wow, maybe if I had a beautiful path, I would start running.  Yes, now that is what my exercise routine is missing.      

“Watch out for that,” my husband tugged on my arm, pulling me away from the approaching heaping pile that lay in the middle of the road.  “Horse droppings,” he said, like it was a matter of fact.  Horse droppings?  No, droppings sounds more like the description of cute little bunny poop.

These were not cute like bunny poop.  These were bulging hills, masses, mountains of dung.  Yes, that is a more accurate description.  You see, I actually have this strong thing against poop, especially large piles of it.  One time I decided to help with the picking up of poop from our childhood dog, and do you know what happened to me because of it?  As I carefully picked it up onto the shovel, to my absolute horror, the poop, in slow motion, rolled all the way down the long shovel stick, balancing upon it like a man walking a tight rope.  Down.  Down.  All the way down, until it decided to make contact.  With my hand.  After that I had nightmares of poop chasing me.  Night terrors.  I trembled and convulsed a little as I stretched my leg over a pile and walked quickly to catch up with my cousin.

“So are you glad you moved?” I asked, keeping my eyes glued to the ground as to avoid any more mounds.  

“We are so happy.  We love it here.  I do miss my loved ones though.  Terribly.  It was hard, really hard for the first year.”

I remember when she moved and was away for her first Christmas.  Her Christmas card arrived in the mail.  I was eager to open it, to hear of her new life in her new home far away.  The way she described her pain and sadness of being away from close loved ones just about scared me to death of ever leaving mine. She wrote of a jar she kept on her counter.  Every time she thought of a blessing in her life, she scribbled it down on a piece of paper and dropped it in.


But of course, as time went on, her roots began to deepen, thus decreasing the hardship of being away.

“It is so wonderful what we can give our kids here, the life we can live.” 

“The life we can live…”  Her last line seemed to resonate and linger in my mind.

A better quality of life for her family.  Was it worth the trade out? 

We walked past their horse arena, where her husband is able to do what he loves- wear chaps and train horses.  Any wild horse that needs taming, well, my cousin’s husband is the man.  Sounded exciting.  Adventurous.  Attractive.  Because what could be more enticing than a strong, assertive manly man taming horses?

Oh I know.  My man wearing chaps and taming horses.  Whoa.

That night we sat in the back of their house on their land, barbequing chicken, drinking iced tea, watching her boys run with the dogs, throw sticks, and play alongside the horses.

“They love it here,” my cousin said.  “They are free to be boys.  They have the freedom to roam, to explore, to find adventure.” 

Hmm, the only adventure my boys were finding was at the local public parks.  “Honey, keep your shoes on so you don't get a splinter from the wood chips."  "Oh, don't put sand in your mouth; this is like a gigantic kitty litter box."  And if I really wanted to give them adventure, I would take them to the nature center.  “Hey, Mom, how come we can hear cars when we are in a forest?  “Oh, that is because there is a freeway behind these trees."  Quietness?  Doesn’t exist in the city.  Views of land?  Covered by tall buildings.  Wild animals?  Sometimes you smell wild skunks who wander out of the nature center destined to become road kill.  

“The life we could live…” whittled away at my mind.  These words began to haunt me, and I began to feel like a skunk trapped within a fake bubble of wide, open spaces.  Did the skunk really think he was living in the wild?  Did he know there might be a better life to live elsewhere?  Would he move if he knew?

I think he should know.


  1. Love the analogy of the skunks. I think some skunks might want to leave, and some may not. Right?
    Love your description of the country and what it would be like. Makes me want to go get some chaps and a wild horse for Louie...woohoo!

  2. Anita, I think that it is best for the baby skunks to stay together. Baby skunks do better when they are together.

  3. I understand that, but the Daddy skunk might have a good job at the nature center.

  4. It's easy to forget about our blessing until we're in a new, scary place/situation. Sometimes it takes being away from everything we know to make us appreciate what we have. I love the jar idea!

  5. Hmmm...sounds like the skunks are in reference to your friend Anita and her family. Does that mean she didn't move with you guys?

  6. I LOVE your posts Janna!! You are so funny :)
    I laughed when I read of your traumatic childhood poop shovelling lol
    Ahh, the grass is always greener isn't it ;)