Today, I thought I might take you on a little tour of the area I live in. It was actually suggested by a friend to talk about the city I live in, but I don’t actually live in a city. I live in a town so small that we only have two traffic lights, and it’s only been a few short years since the second light stopped being a flashing light. I’ve written two books that take place in fairly large cities (Ripped Away is in Pensacola, and The Secrets He Kept is in a northern fictional city somewhere in the Indiana/Michigan area), but I actually am not a fan of the city myself. I once lived in Gainesville, FL, which is the biggest city I have ever lived in – and it will retain that title until the day I die, if I have anything to do with it.
I live in the country, a rural area in the heart of North Central Florida. I’m talking cows, horses, dirt roads kind of country. Literally, the road I live on is dirt and rocks – we’re so far out that the county doesn’t even grade our road often. And it never fails that when they do grade it, it rains within a few short days, and destroys the results.
The nearest town is about 20 minutes away, and the nearest city is 45 minutes, depending on where in the city I’m going. So instead of showing you the “city”, I’m going to show you my favorite things about the country.
This is the sunrise over the lake. No, it’s not an unblemished view of the water and the sun, and that’s what I love about it. The fire of the sun on the Spanish moss on trees, and the green grass with that wooden fence are so beautiful to me.
This is my idea of a skyscraper.
And traffic? These water bugs skittering on the river are the biggest traffic jam I see most days.
Speaking of the river, here’s a couple more shots of that beautiful body of water that I’m so close to. We take the boat out, we stand on the shore and cast out a line (but of course, I do not bait my own hook or remove my own fish. Sorry, just can’t.)
Of course, even while we enjoy the beauty, we do keep an eye out. You never know when you might see one of these big boys. And truthfully? He’s really only a little guy. They get much bigger.
And gators aren’t the only thing around that we have to keep an eye out for. We found this little terror on our outdoor table, between the tabletop and the glass sheet on top of it. It’s lucky we have that glass, or one of my kids would have put his hand down directly on this.
Alongside beauty and danger, we also have this. This cute little guy came to visit a few days ago, and my kids wanted to keep him. My cousin and an old friend seconded and thirded that motion, but I pulled rank as mom and said no, we couldn’t do that. I also then had to explain how it was unfair to him to feed him.
And baby possum isn’t the only baby around.
There’s also these pretty birds that come to snack, drink and bathe.
That lake the sun was rising over at the top of this post? This is what it looks like a little later in the day, in the summer. Most summers, we can go here and enjoy some nice, lazy afternoons with friends. We’ll have to see about this year, though, as they’ve already closed the lake down once to the public due to dangerous algae. But I prefer to remember its beautiful moments like this, rather than the less pleasant ones.
But it’s not all water and cute animals (or dangerous ones) around here. We also grow things.
And these yummy beans, of which I have a whole bag in the fridge, just waiting to be added to a meal later this week.
What I really love is that I live so far out that people still respect nature enough to leave it. That means we have a road that’s divided around this lovely tree. Isn’t she gorgeous?
And there are views like this one.
We welcome people, yet we still retain our privacy.
And we enjoy long, peaceful walks on country lanes like this one.
And at the end of the day, we may not have the clear, stunning view of a sunset over the ocean or behind a mountain, but we do get glimpses like this. Glimpses I never saw in the city. And that’s good enough for me.
The city has culture: museums, theaters, symphonies, and restaurants. I have bird songs, the wind in my hair, the smell of grilling food, and every beautiful sight that nature has to offer. Culture is nice, but I’ll take my natural world any day.