Long ago, I had a conversation with my dad that was a little unusual. He wasn't much for talking about feelings, but what he said often comes to mind when I take my daily walk.
John and I had lived in the city for the first few years of our marriage, but once we finished college, we wanted to move "home." My parents had bought property across the road from the family farm to add planting/pasture acreage, and there was an old, half-finished house there we'd played in as kids. We called and asked if they'd sell us the house, and they readily agreed, making us a very sweet deal.
That was good, because the house needed work. I was lucky John is so handy, and he was lucky I'm willing to serve as gopher, painter, and fetcher of cold libations. Forty-plus years later we can't say the house is finished, but it's comfortable and we're used to its eccentricities.
What I found when we moved to the property was that I couldn't get enough of walking. Much of the land is planted, but much is wooded too. Though I walk the same path every day, it never becomes boring. It doesn't matter if I see wild critters or not, though I often do. It's simply being out there. If I'm sad, I come back feeling better. If I'm bothered by a problem, the solution often comes into my brain while my eyes watch trees and my ears hear birds. If I'm happy--I just get happier.
One day in the '80s when I came back from a walk, Dad was working in his shed, and I stopped to talk. "You love this place," he said after I'd told him what I'd seen along the way.
That's all there was to it, but it was like he'd written me a long, heart-felt letter. He loved it too, and he was pleased to see I felt the same way. He'd invested far more than I in it, clearing acreage for farming, plowing fields, and harvesting crops. Still, it made it worthwhile for him that his children appreciated the land he'd worked so hard on all his life. Two of us now call it home, and at least one sibling or spouse is usually out "appreciating" in some way: mowing, planting, tending--and walking.
Like Scarlett O'Hara, I hear my father's voice in my head as I take the familiar path around my half of the farm. Land isn't owned as much as it owns you, but for me, that bargain will always be a benefit.
(The blog's background picture is another example of why I love this place.)
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