I used to live in a track home outside of town, on land freshly poached from the desert. Like a number of choices made at age 24, it isn’t a decision I would repeat; this was life in the country without the benefits of country life. There were the long commutes, the automotive expenses, the 15 miles to the grocery store. My bedroom window stared into my neighbors’. I had a tiny yard that was mostly composed of a pile of rocks. In a desperate move to beautify I tried to grow succulents on the rock pile, but the succulents would inevitably die off, exposing the truth that, no, there’s no rock garden here, only an eyesore.
I moved to that house having only lived in a very urban environment. At first it seemed strange, but I grew to love both the silence and the sounds. The coyotes would sing at night over the howling wind. I would run in the darkness of the early morning with the milky way shining down upon me and hear owls flapping their wings as they hunted their prey. Hoo, hoo.
I now live in a central part of the city, and the constant, bustling noise grates on my nerves. I run on asphalt with no owls in sight, only pigeons. I appreciate being able to bike to work, to walk to a grocery store, but I seek out quiet corners of the city in which to recharge. I miss the roadrunners, the quail, the hawks soaring ahead. I miss the forests of ocotillo, reaching towards looming mountains above. My happiest moments are when I’m outside of the city limits, on a hill overlooking the twinkling lights, or camping in a forest somewhere.
Turns out I’m a bit of a country girl, afterall.