Aphelion Issue 230, Volume 22
July 2018
 
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I moved around a lot in the years before I bought this little house out in the country.

When I was a child, Dad kept getting better jobs and so we moved to new places. There was one school year where I was in two different schools in the same grade. I began the school year in Athens, Georgia, spent the Winter half the school year back in Tennessee, then back to the original school in Athens.

After college I moved from one apartment to another almost every year. Up until I bought this house, I averaged living in the same place for less than three years at a stretch. But that is just the average, not real data. I've lived in towns, cities, suburbs, villages, and many, many times I was so far out in the sticks the Saturday Night Grand Ol' Opry didn't reach our radio until Thursday afternoons. Which is sort of like were we live now.

Lyn and I live six miles from the nearest two old-fashioned small towns, the same distance from the nearest village, and the same distance from the nearest city. Which means we have to drive at least six miles to get to anything other than a gas station, and that gas station is two miles away. It's twenty miles to the nearest WalMart in one direction, and thirty miles to the next closest one. It is twenty five miles to the nearest movie theater, and roughly the same distance in a different direction to the nearest nightclub.

It's quiet out here, peaceful, and quite nice. The biggest excitement is either a thunderstorm, or perhaps once every five years or so some prisoner temporarily running away from the local jail's tender loving care. Geese fly low overhead on their migrations. Hawks fly overhead on hunting trips. Hummingbirds and tiny Finches fly around the house looking for flowers. Deer wander through the back yard. Owls hunt in the woods about thirty yards from our back door. Coyotes hunt there too, but the locals shoot them on sight, so they aren't as big a nuisance as they were five years ago. Possums, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, several kinds of snakes, squirrels, chipmunks, pheasant, quail, and dozens of species of songbirds can be seen without even opening our doors. There are beavers in local ponds and streams, wild turkeys in the woods, armadillos invading from Florida and Texas, and the occasional Eagle soaring nearly out of sight, so high in the sky that they scare the buzzards that roost on the power lines.

And sometimes, there is an ostrich or emu wandering around the woods, set loose when the fad for raising them like chickens fell apart many years ago. Local farmers raise cattle, and sheep, and even one place nearby that has buffalo. Chicken houses dot the landscape- scattered about the county like goldmines, and kids ride horses on the farm across the paved road from our house.

This is in sharp contrast to the place in England where my wife grew up. She could walk to the High Street shops in just a few minutes, or take a bus a bit further to even more places. She rode a ferryboat to get to school and back. Or a train to go to London. Her youngest two kids live out West in New Mexico, where the wide open spaces are even wider than they are here. Lyn had a house on the outskirts of a village that has since grown to be a small town. It might be fifty miles between the nearest village and a small city. So she is used to the open countryside. But her memories of living in that beautiful city in England are never far from her thoughts.