From Where I Sit
A Place in the Country
Volume 21 Issue 19 2013-05-24
“I live on a farm about an hour and a half away,” I said to the Edmonton sales clerk.
“Ahhh, I wish I lived on a farm,” was the wistful reply from the 20-something girl. “My dad always said if we won the lottery, we’d buy a farm.”
“Well, yeah, it’s a pretty good place to live,” I conceded. “But when you need anything you need to drive for it.”
I suggested she attend the Northlands Farm & Ranch Show that was currently running in the city and try to snag a farmer. “I do love cowboys,” she said.
This short exchange was surreal for a couple of reasons. Most farmers I know, us included, hope for a lottery win so we don’t have to farm anymore. In an old joke, one farmer asks the other what he’d do if he won the lottery. “Farm ’til it was all gone” was the smartass (but accurate) answer.
Secondly, the concept of pinning one’s hopes and future on a crapshoot like a lottery seems universal. There are about as many potential dreams simmering as there are people lining up to buy tickets.
Is the price of farmland out of reach? It depends on where it’s located and how good the soil is. If the farm dream includes a line of machinery, start-up costs, and annual inputs, then you’d better double up your ticket purchases—it will take millions. If it’s just a simple house and land you want, it’s cheaper than a modest home on a 35-foot lot in Edmonton.
What stuck with me on the drive home was the whole idea of counting blessings. It’s incredibly easy to bitch and moan about our circumstances. It’s easy to see the downside, the inconvenience, the missing elements. It’s easy to fall victim to life’s-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence–itis and to believe that city life close to services and amenities is the cat’s meow. We’re so quick to think that someone’s, anyone’s, everyone’s life is fuller, richer, and easier.
Logically, I know it isn’t true.
Emotionally, I know that pulling into the driveway at home after a day or two or three away is a good feeling. There’s always a calming effect as we leave the city limits and harried driving behind us. There’s something to be said for sleeping in your own bed, even if it’s a queen-sized one in a small room. There’s something restorative in seeing the trees and wildlife (even when a deer darts into the grille of your truck). The air is fresher; the space, expansive. It’s a tangled mess of ownership, stewardship, responsibility, burden, never-ending work, pride, and pleasure.
Yet even with this reminder to be grateful for the home and life I have, I will continue buying dream home tickets. In fact, earlier this week I toured the Big Brothers/Big Sisters dream home in Sherwood Park and bought 10 tickets. I can see us there. We could always tell our new neighbours about our place in the country, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka's first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.
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