This Life...

Down to the Hills

The southern part of my state is all rolling hills and deep ravines, pine trees and majestic oaks and maples. For years, I rode my horse in these parts–up hill, over dale, and across creeks.We camped in the state park and spent long fall days wandering the forests on horseback, to the point that sometimes it seemed as if the horses knew the trails better than we did. They’d pick up their pace when we were headed back to the horseman’s camp–they were always anxious to return to the campsite where they knew they’d be relieved of the heavy saddles and given a good brushing and hay and fresh water. Even though I no longer ride, I still love that area.

This weekend, we drove down to spend some time with friends who live in those southern hills–far off the beaten path–a 20-minute drive over gravel roads once you get off the state highway. Their house is a beautiful cedar cabin tucked into the side of hill, surrounded by trees and rocks and all kinds of wildlife. The decorating suits the setting–a soaring stone fireplace and lots of wood and natural fabrics and big cozy furniture–they’ve brought the outside in with their country-nature style. We always have a terrific time when we’re there and this weekend was no different. Delicious food,  plenty of great wine, and always wonderful fellowship.

Each time we go down to see these friends, we spend the drive home wondering if we could ever live so far away from a big city. Our friends love it and while I’m there, I get it. But, cell phone service is sketchy at their house, so I worried a little that if Son needed us, he wouldn’t be able to get a hold of us.  The road to the cabin washes out in bad weather, so when I heard rain on the roof after we’d gone to bed, I laid awake imagining our tiny truck being washed away if the bridge got flooded. Then before I finally fell asleep, I tried to figure out how an ambulance would get to us if one of us suddenly needed medical assistance. And worst of all, their Internet service had gone down, so there was no checking email or Facebook, or Twitter. (Gasp!!)

Obviously, everything was fine. We had fun! Son didn’t need us desperately (although he did try to find us just to chat and wondered why he couldn’t get either parent on their cell phones); and there were no broken limbs or heart attacks. I lived just fine without touching a computer for 36 hours and we even turned off the cell phones since there was no service anyway. We sipped wine with dinner, caught up on one another’s news, drove into their small town for a charming Christmas program, and then drove back through the woods and hills to the cabin for more wine and more good conversation.

I confess though, I wouldn’t want to live so far away full time. I’d miss my reliable Internet access and knowing I could dial Son on the cell at any given moment.  I love the Interwebs, my cell phone, and the fact that I’m less than five minutes from the grocery store. I like knowing that I’ll never be snowed in for more than 24 hours at a time unless a blizzard cripples the city I live in. I’m glad I can pop down to the nail salon or the post office or Macy’s without making a day’s event of it. I think I’ll stick to simply visiting the hills every so often…it’s a wonderful escape, but for this city girl, just not a way of life.



  • robena grant

    I loved the description, Nan. And I can understand how you feel.
    I’ve spent most of my adult life in big cities and only recently moved to a smaller town. It has everything I need though. Good shopping. Great outdoor malls. Movie theaters. Great Theater Arts. And if I want Los Angeles it’s only a two hour drive away. ; )

  • Liz Flaherty

    LOL–this is just how I feel after a few days in the city. It’s so much fun, and there’s so much excitement, but I feel so…smooshed. There’s no room to breathe! Isn’t it nice it takes all kinds? Loved the post.