It has been 18 months since we moved to our little farmstead out here on the Montana prairie. Since our closest neighbor is 1 1/2 miles away, we do not hear traffic noise, car stereos blaring, children playing in the neighbor's backyard, neighborhood dogs barking, etc. We do hear birds chirping in the mornings, our roosters occasionally crowing, our dogs bark acts as an alarm to look out the window to see who's decided to visit, many days we hear the wind and if the wind is blowing just right, when outside we might catch the faint sound of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe's whistle echoing across the prairie.
Since we live 60+ miles away from the nearest city center, we do not visit it often. I have found I am no longer accustom to crowds of people, hordes of cars racing to beat stop lights, huge discount stores and shopping malls with isles upon isles of merchandise, or restaurants with high ceilings that cause sounds of music and chatter to be amplified.
Last week the littles and I drove into the city to do some shopping and have lunch. The food at the restaurant was good, but the loud atmosphere made me feel anxious and I couldn't wait to get out of that place. The large discount retailer really sent me into sensory overload with it's glaring fluorescent lighting, hundreds of shoppers, noise, hunting isle after isle of merchandise for the items on my list, and my littles expressive excitement over being in such a lively and stimulating place. After being in the city for only 2 1/2 hours, I was frantically scrabbling to get out.
As I drove home I found myself pondering how I tolerated living so close to the 4th largest city in America for nearly 20 years. I honestly don't know if I could handle a visit home to Houston or Dallas. The soft sounds of nature and the friendly smiles of locals in small little shops have become more my speed. It's hard to conceive that we've been here only 18 months - it's starting to feel like this is where I should have been all my life.