It’s been one of those days with lots of miles driven — not so rare around here, since everything is at least 20 miles away. Though the current gas crisis does make you think twice … just before you turn the key, ’cause you’ve just gotta get there from here.
I live on a section, just like Laura did. And you know what? I can’t even tell you what section it is. But I’ve seen the land maps and the ownership names. Probably looks a lot like the land divisions of South Dakota in Laura’s time. To the direct north, south, east, and west of my house are fields. Sometimes wheat, sometimes corn, sometimes sunflowers, depending on the year and the season. My house is but a dot in the corner of one of those fields. I’m a half-mile from our closest neighbors, one to the north and two to the south, all three visible clear as day. I found out a friend of mine, a woman of sixty, lives “out in the country” as I do and I asked her: “Do you have trees on your property?”
“Oh no. We haven’t been there that long.”
Twelve years is not very long for trees to grow.
Luckily our house is old. It was built in the 1940s. My husband’s grandparents raised their kids here, and when they lived here they planted trees. So directly out my window now, I can hear whispering trees (when the window is open, which it rarely is because of the everpresent dust) and I can see shade under which I can send my kids to play. I’m not sure I would have lasted as long as I have “out in the country” without these trees. When I first moved here, I sometimes went for weeks without talking to a single person other than my husband.
Sometimes, in a rare and fleeting glimpse, I can sort of see where Lib Bouchie* was coming from.
* Mrs. Brewster