I’ve mentioned my summer home a couple of times before. As you can imagine, it’s a place where I live most of my summer (most of my summers). I’ve been living here over eight years now, at first for the entire year, nowadays just the summers. It’s not only a beautiful and magical place, but an important one too, for me that is.
I was born in a small city. Wasn’t special at all, neither objectively nor subjectively, to be honest, it’s sometimes disturbing, thinking how irrelevant this city is to me today, considering how much I’m affected by my current homes. No valuable memories from there, good or bad. It’s always fun to visit, and I do that fairly often, but I don’t really think of it as of my “home”. I stopped doing that the moment I moved to that new house, in the province of a province. Forests, fields and lakes away from the closest city, but still close enough to the civilization to enjoy all the benefits that the XXI century guarantees. House, that I helped build with my own hands. Literally. God knows how many days I spent on the construction site. Apart from my obvious excitement whenever we as a family went out of town for a day when I was a kid, that was my contribution to creating our new home. The family legend says, that my parents, who loved living in a city before, decided that they want to move to the country only after my brother’s constant crying back when he was a toddler forced them to take long car rides across the neighboring villages, because that seemed to be the only thing that could make him fall asleep. So I suppose we both contributed to moving to the Beautiful Nowhere in our own way.
I call it that, the beautiful Nowhere, because it’s exactly what it is. There’s nothing special in or around my village, not by the usual standards. Nothing really happens there, ever. The only real event we host in the area is the Harvest Festival once every six to seven years. One convenience store, and a small one too, or as I prefer to call it, intimate. And the number one local attraction, a cache from a geocaching game, which, honestly, attracts the most tourists. We’re talking about five to ten a month in summertime, exclusively cyclists. The village itself is okay, most of it consists solely of a road cutting through a single row of old houses on each side, and in the center there’s a small plaza with an old-school fire house in the middle. Then the road goes down, all the way to the bridge on the familiar stream. In that valley stands a church, a really pretty one, and the store. From there, it’s the houses only again, until the road separates into two at the edge of the village. And that’s pretty much it. Doesn’t sound like much at all, but my God, is it beautiful.
It’s just perfect, you know, it’s like it has been designed specifically for me. I can’t explain it, but I love every single inch of that village. I’ve told about appraciating the common before, so this might sound familiar if you happen to be that one person who according to my admin panel viewed that post, and if not, well, too bad. But the point is, I never realized how big of an influence on my general disposition will moving from a city into a countryside have. Before moving permanently, I didn’t spend that much time outside of town. I always enjoyed it, but I looked at it in the categories of one day activities, you know, like going fishing, bicycle rides, maybe visiting someone, occasionally camping for a night or two. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered that simply being out there, in the nowhere, was the thing I missed most, and didn’t know it until I satisfied that need.
I mean, I obviously suspected, that I would enjoy living in the country. Moving from an apartment into a house meant more space. The garden I could definitely appreciate too. Noise and the commotion of the city weren’t as inspiring to me as to some people, in fact, the places I liked most in the city were the ones that were the most country-like, as in parks, waterfronts. In short, I loved nature, the quiet nature, so I didn’t expect any troubles with adjusting to living, well, basically in it. But what I didn’t realize at the time, was exactly how big of an impact will moving have on me. After all, the entire freaking way of life changes. Not just where you live, but how you live as well. What you get to see each day, how everyday activities are different now. Casually going shopping changed into either going to the convenience store for the necessities or a full day trip to the city. But then again, finding a quiet place in a park to relax turned into just going outside. It sounds obvious, but it wasn’t back then. Granted, I was just a kid, and it was the first time I was changing homes. And obviously I’m not the first person in the world to whom the experience of moving was so overwhelming.
But it’s not so much about the change of location itself, it’s about the long lasting effects it had. I’ve entered the state of a permanent relaxation, which lasted for years. I became more laid back, but at the same time more confident. I don’t really now how it all sounds to you, if it seems normal, natural, or maybe weird, possibly awkward? But it’s the first and only time I ever went through a sudden shift like this. And I know it was the new home that caused that change, because, well, I know. Choosing to stick to clichés, I’ll say that it was like I could finally breathe or something. My favourite U2 song stopped being “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for“, instead it was replaced by “Where the streets have no name“. Because while I never knew that it was the countryside that I missed, I knew there’s something out there that could make me just better: better off, better person…
It all came suddenly, that feeling, but not without reaching out for it first. In the end, it only took a couple of weeks to turn that excitement of simply living somewhere else into pure love of my new home. Each and every part of it. The village, and the surroundings. Not one but TWO lakes within the village borders, hills upon hills followed by flat grasslands, cornfields straight out of an American road trip movie, seas of gold wheat and barley as far as the eye can see, the forests of all shapes, sizes and… contents. This was really something at first, because before I moved, the day outside of town meant a day at the lake, or in the woods. As in, either/or. Now? Felt like there were no limits. It was like going to Heaven.
Of course, life is easier when you’re a kid. If you’re as lucky as me, after six to seven hours of school, you’re pretty much free to enjoy the world in your childish ways as you please. Adults have it harder, because, you know, we do. So you would expect, as I would expect, that in time, that excitement would disappear or diminish at least, when it will be finally confronted with the new responsibilities of a high school graduate, but to my surprise, it didn’t. In fact, in time the power I was draining from this endless source of joy became imperative to continuing to function. It might have stopped being the way of life, where the constant state of “being one with the nature” was interrupted for brief moments of classes or work, but it turned into something similar enough: work and classes with regular, long breaks, when I could enjoy whatever little free time I had in the place that I loved so much. Like “mini holidays”. At least one per day.
And that lasted for six wonderful years. Then my life changed again, when I encountered some unexpected problems that bicycle rides couldn’t help. And then again, when I stopped being a permanent resident in that village, and started moving with each october to my other home, in a big city, with only summers still being spent in that miraculous province of a province. But that’s for another post, possibly. One day maybe.
For now… Well, as I write this, with the open window, I can hear the big city, that is my home-for-the-rest-of-the-year falling asleep, I can almost feel that child-like excitement, I know it’s coming, while my one-way ticket to the Beautiful Nowhere already waits impatiently in my wallet.