I grew up in the country--a farmer's daughter to the core. My playground was not confined to a room in our house, but rather the great outdoors that was my backyard. The creek beyond the mulberry bushes and next to the lazy Susans was my swimming pool, and there I was in heaven.
I am a product of gravel roads and fields of green as far as the horizon. Lush trees in the summer, yellow tassels in the fall, snowdrifts in the dead of winter, and new beginnings every spring. Every day, I was free to roam as I saw fit. I know these parts like the back of my hand--they are like a glove that will always fit--I do not need a GPS to bring me where I need to go.
When my sons and I arrived home a few nights ago, the grumble of the gravel beneath our wheels was a sound that defines familiarity, it was a sound calling us home. The dust that collected all around us had done so thousands of times before, sometimes with me at the wheel and other times I was allowed to sit back and enjoy the view.
Today, I took a trip down memory lane with my son, Tate. As a child, my landmarks were never street names, they were gravel roads. The directions I knew were: Turn left after so-and-so's farm, right a mile down the road, all until I reached my destination.
This afternoon, very dear family friends had a reunion for all of us with that shared connection. I was able to find my way "home" to them via country roads and fields my family toils. My memory served as my guide.
When I eventually turned down that long country lane to that home imprinted in my youth, I was welcomed by smiles and hugs from many souls who mean so much to me. For many of them, it had been decades since we had seen each other, but none of that mattered. We have a shared history that defies the ticking of the clock. For me the country, my country, will always be home.