I cannot say that I am a city girl. I cannot say that I have not spent a larger portion of my life amongst nonstop pavement, constant illumination, and mass-produced shopping potential. I cannot say that I am immune to deer in my yard. I cannot say that I do not know life with well-water. I cannot say that I have always enjoyed the luxury of high-speed internet or even cable TV.
Yet, as I have returned to an environment where we are back to the exact same set-up of my youth, quiet and distance from the chaos, I am finding myself a city-girl in ways that almost annoy me. Now some adjustments I am making quite well. For example, we have well water now as we did in our very first little home together when we got married so long ago. I must say, that well water is truly not that bad. It is hard water and therefore I had to remind myself that my hair needs some extra loving when it comes to conditioning. However, we are lucky in that it doesn’t taste bad and it has not changed the color of my whites, nor have we really experienced any problem with overuse. Our past experience has much to do with some of these appreciations. It is way not cool to run a well dry. It is also no fun to watch your whites turn a shade of yellow. For those of you that are city folk, well water is not filtered. It is as natural as it comes…straight out of the ground. To be more direct, it comes STRAIGHT out of the ground bringing whatever wonderful mineral or residue is found in its reservoir with it as it flows into your pipes. Both of my parents remember having orange clothes from the sulfur that was in their well water. Didn’t know you had that little perk to be thankful for did ya?
Now septic tanks, that’s another beast…literally. In fact, I guess it was probably our second house that we lived in in Texas before I realized that they did not have septic tanks in the city. City friends, this is the countryman’s sewer. They deserve a certain respect and care in their usage.
Field mice. Yep, a tad more frequent when you say, LIVE IN A FIELD. We had them all my life. As a child, I just knew where to not step in our home lest I get my toe broken from a baited trap. We even had them in my “city” apartment in Birmingham. Ok, really he was a rat. Oh that rat deserves another post all to himself. We had mice in our first house as a married couple and that, too, deserves its own post. There is nothing like the pungent odor of decaying animal. Yep, still get a whiff of it every now and then and am provoked to vomit just a little in my mouth. We are back to the country, and back to battling the little mice. They are just another pest like spiders and ants. It just is. Having to remind myself to remind guests of the traps and bait so their little ones will not encounter them.
Here is where the city girl is bothering me. When I was little, I would run through our pastures barefoot and have not a care in the world. This go around, I find myself becoming so irritated with bugs that it puts me in a mood of foulness. So ugly that I find myself repentant of the furrowed brow I carry. Bugs, I know God made you. I know that God has a purpose for your presence here on this earth. He is the almighty artist and designator of each intricate aspect of this world. But why red wasps, God? These are things that we will have a good talk about when I get there. Why sweat bees? Why wasps in general? Aren’t regular stinging bees and yellow jackets enough? And why mosquitos? Oh, my entire family – especially the girls – cry out to the Lord Most High, why is there a secret attacker in the yard that does nothing but take our blood and threaten to give us something named Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? Just a few weeks ago, I counted a total of 50 – FIFTY!!!! – mosquito bites on my body alone. Is your brow starting to furrow too? I KNOW!
You see, what makes me finally smile after I repent of my carrying on about the existence of these nuisances, is that God is giggling at me. I know that God is watching as I am swatting at the air like a ninja warrior and these little bitty bugs are able to navigate away from my supposed coordination. How do they do that? How do they move so much faster and even know that my rolled up newspaper is coming? I think God tells them so they know to dart the other direction at just the right moment and then He laughs and laughs and laughs.
When I was little, I played through the mosquito bites; and yes, they were just as bad then. When I was little, I told my daddy there were wasps in my swing set and he sprayed them down with his magical poison and life goes on. When I was little, I found it a challenge and game to try to chase down the bug that was dodging me. Sometimes I would even catch them in a cup and torture them before killing them. Gasp! Yep. I was one of those kids. But I refused to let them deter me from missing out on all the other amazing things God had to reveal to me. I would go out at night and lie down on our driveway and look at the stars…all the while being nibbled by mosquitos. An hour or more before that, I was outside catching lightening bugs, right along with those mosquitos. They do not sleep. I would literally run through the field when it had high grass and let the grass fleas jump on me, but I was reenacting some great movie scene in my head of some hero and princess running to one another, so those bugs didn’t even faze me. I would come in at night and my mother would lay me on a towel and rub that ugly yet soothing pink lotion on all my bites with a Q-tip. I don’t know what is in that stuff, but it is so awesome.
What is wrong with me? I spend the majority of my day with 2 versions of little me and yet I cannot channel that inner little girl. I vow today to find that little girl again. This must change. If I can handle the well water management and the septic-tank respect, what are little bugs? As I write this, I find embarrassment in the admittance that I allow such creatures to take away my love of the outdoors. For when we do sit out on our porch during any hour of the day, I am lost in the beauty of it all. To watch the deer and the fawn quietly walk across the field. To listen to the frogs grow louder and louder with the oncoming darkness. To watch the birds hop around in the yard looking for food and supplies for their nest. I can’t miss that! Nor can I allow my kids to miss it before it’s too late. I don’t want them to be the unsure city girl. I want them to run with liberation knowing that they are strong enough to overcome and endure little things. The bigger things will come, and if they can’t handle little struggles, than big challenges will be crippling and destructive. I vow today to take my magical spray and make the wasps go away so we can play. I vow today to let the grass fleas bounce off of our citronella skin and the bumble bee to hover around the clover at our feet. I vow today to be OK with smelling like Off for the day so the mosquitos won’t give us some unbearable coating of bites. And if they do break through, than I will get the Q-tip and the pink lotion so we can all sleep through the night and be rested just enough to get out there and build our fort, swing on our swing, ride our bike, run to our beau, and conquer the world once more.