On my way home from taking my daughter to school this morning, I heard a Jason Aldean song on the radio about two guys from New York flying across country to L.A. They were talking about why anyone would want to live “down there” in the middle of nowhere. I live down here in the middle of nowhere and I would like to answer that question.
The middle of the country is beautiful. I’ve been all over it and it boasts mountains, lakes, plains, forests and rivers. Farmland spreads in some parts as far as the eye can see. You get fed from that middle of nowhere. I live in Ohio, so I feel that I can only speak with authority about Ohio, even though I have spent considerable amounts of time in other places.
It is green here. Right now in the spring, it rains at least some, almost everyday and a LOT on other days. The grass is green, the leaves are green, the flowers are blooming and most places you go, the air has a slightly flowery smell to it. The clouds and misty mornings make me feel cozy. Sunny mornings put a kick in my step. We have to mow our grass around here, cause it grows really fast. As the season rolls on, the leaves on the trees will get bigger, the shade will get deeper, the sun will get hotter and it will be humid.
Summer is pretty much what you picture summer being. Hot, humid, languid. We celebrate flag day out here usually with patriotic concerts. Parks have free concerts all summer long, usually once a week. Farmer’s markets open and are something to do on a Saturday morning. You can get the freshest, locally grown food available. The Fourth of July is fun. We have picnics and play outdoor games and go to fireworks displays or those patriotic concerts again. It is old-fashioned. It is American.
Fall is my favorite. The humidity goes away and the air is clear once again. The sky is a kind of blue that humans try to duplicate but can’t. Fluffy white clouds scud across that blue sky and once in a while, the air has a bite to it that reminds you that winter is on the way. The warm afternoons and cool nights turn the trees to their fall colors, gold, red, yellow, orange. We still rake leaves out here and even though we aren’t supposed to, we put them in piles and burn them just to smell our childhoods again. We celebrate Halloween and we call it Halloween, not Harvest, that’s Thanksgiving. We take our kids to pumpkin farms and buy the biggest ones we can. We also buy gourds and corn shocks to decorate our porches. We hang fake spider webs and prop up fake witches with silly brooms. We make or buy costumes for our kids and take them Trick or Treating. We take them to neighbors we know, and neighbors we don’t know. We are not afraid of each other out here.
Thanksgiving is technically in the fall, but around here, sometimes, its in the winter. Some years we are buried in snow, some years, like last year, we never have to wear our super heavy winter coats. We get ice and snow and blustery wind. Christmas is especially wonderful if there is snow. The outside lights get buried sometimes and the soft snow glow they give off is truly a thing of beauty. Sometimes in the winter, if you go outside at night in the crisp cold air, and look up at a star filled sky bright with stars, you can almost hear them sing.
Then, you have the people who live here. The folks. Of course you have stupid people and mean people and people who just take pleasure in making things hard for others, but overall, the people out here are nice. They are helpful to one another. When we have natural disasters or tragedies, we don’t sit on our butts wailing and whining and waiting for someone else to come save our butts. We dry our tears, we stand up and dust ourselves off and get to work fixing things. We help our neighbors. We have bake sales and benefit dances and festivals and give the proceeds to our friends in need. If someone is desperately ill, we do the same thing. We count on no one but ourselves. We’ve learned a long time ago that ourselves are the most dependable people there are. If someone is having a rough time, we do things for them without saying anything. We invite them to dinner, or we buy something they need and tell them that we had this lying around and we don’t use it anymore, would they like it. We don’t want to make anyone feel bad and we don’t feel the need to toot our own horns. To do something nice for someone and then make a big deal about it is not the way we roll. We are quiet, we are thoughtful, we are good people.
Yes, we live in the middle, but we are educated, we like the arts, the majority of us believe in God. Lots of us have guns and go hunting. We support the military because we understand that freedom isn’t free and those brave souls make it so we can sleep safely and in freedom. What we are NOT is close minded and intolerant and selfish and racist, and with all due respect, we don’t like it much when people tell us we are because it’s just not true.
So the next time you are flying over from somewhere to somewhere and you wonder why anyone would live down there in the middle of nowhere, now maybe you have a hint of an idea why. It’s beautiful here, the people are good and there is room to breathe. Why do you live at the edges?
Have a wonderful day and be kind to one another. 🙂