Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Simple Country Girl

Despite growing up in a beach town and living in two major cities, I absolutely love the country. Old barns, weathered fences, pick up trucks, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, cowboys ... they all make me inhale deeply, relax and want to stay a while. I don't think it was any coincidence that I ended up with a cattle rancher's daughter as a college roommate or that my dog is half cattle dog. I think I would own a cow or two if my homeowner's association didn't frown upon such things.

So when one of the squad sent an e-mail out last week extending an invite to her place in the Willamette Valley, I was in. It didn't hurt that her gorgeous dog had a litter of puppies five weeks ago. Puppies and the country? I wondered silently if I should just go ahead and forward my mail.

On Sunday a few members of the squad and I headed out to Yamhill. The afternoon was beautiful and clear, Mt. Hood was covered with snow and our conversation lulled as we got further and further out of town, each of us lost in our own thoughts and the beauty of the rolling valley hills. "I could live out here," I said in a half whisper as we passed miles of green vineyards and homes that were separated by actual land and not just a fence or common wall.

My mind was working quickly, I could give up Stumptown's coffee (ummm, maybe), Laurelhurst Park, my downtown office, the crazies on the MAX, happy hour at the Saucebox, St. Cupcake (ok, I could drive into the city for St. Cupcake) but otherwise, I think I could do it. I think I could give it all up to live in the country, walk out of my front door early each morning and just breathe in the quiet.

My mind worked quickly, I envisioned the garden I'd plant (flowers and vegetables), the fruit trees I'd have (apples, pears, fig and if could get away with it a lemon tree) all the while forgetting the fact that I don't have a single plant in my house now. I'd milk the cows and make homemade ice cream, so what if I don't know how to milk a cow, I'd learn! I'd sweep the front porch and then sit down on the porch swing and have a nice cold glass of lemonade, homemade of course from my lemon trees.

By that time we arrived at our coworkers place--20 acres planted with wheat and a beautiful mediterranean style ranch house with a barn full of puppies. I almost asked if I could move in and drive the tractor to plow the field (do you drive tractors to plow fields?). We played with the eight little pups for over an hour, watching them run, fall, roll over, chomp on the grass and then repeat the whole cycle over again. Every once and a while you could grab one for long enough to cuddle them and give them kisses before they'd squirm and want to be let down again. It was heaven. We left reluctantly and headed back to the city.

Don't get me wrong, I love my life here too. It truly is the best of both worlds, having so much so close. And I admit, I may have a romanticized view of country life. I know it takes work and money. But honestly, what doesn't? So I have no idea how I'm going to make this happen, but I'm going to! Serendipitous Girl might just become Serendipitous Country Girl--it may be when she's 90 and has no teeth, but she's going to. There's a porch swing and a cool glass of lemonade just waiting and you don't need teeth for that.