🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Rural love affair
People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
For thirty seven years I've been having a rural love affair. I grew up in various towns and cities across South Africa, and when my husband and I got married in our late-twenties, we couldn't wait to own our own little piece of rural bliss, somewhere in the country, far from the madding crowd.
We bought our first smallholding in 1975, starting from scratch on a virgin piece of land covered in lush indigenous grasses and lots of blue gum trees. For twenty seven years we fenced, planted, tended animals, built our house, stables, a cottage and other farm buildings, always busy with some project or another.
And after all this time, I still have not tired of travelling the quiet country roads, spotting wildlife and farm animals en route or stopping to pick some Cosmos or wild flowers for a vase.
Driving up one of the gravel roads in and around our area always fills me with expectation - what will I find over the horison? Neat, green fields? A little stream? Or some antelope crossing the road? I can't remember how many times I've been blessed with some wonderful find, a Hedgehog sprinting for the cover of grass, a Duiker quickly leading it's fawn back to the safety of the trees, a Kestrel sitting on a fence post devouring its prey.
And going for a walk takes on a whole different meaning. Walks are filled with all sorts of exciting things - unknown plants that need to be identified, bird song and insects, ground-hog families scurrying about their business, the odd snake hurrying to get out of your way - an artist or photographer's heaven!
But country living is not ALL bliss and joy and certainly has its fair share of draw-backs, like the wildfires we suffer every winter, an essential part of our ecology but still with devastating effects on wildlife and properties. A country property always seems to need more maintenance than suburban properties - fire-breaks that have to be cut, fences that need mending, boreholes that either dry up or need a new pump and all the animals that need tending.
But its a way of life that, once it gets into your blood, you won't exchange for any other way of living!