This summer was to have been the summer for getting everything cleaned out, but my very late departure from TN means there is not much time to get things done here. The huge ice storm in April left a real mess, and even if we get some cooler weather to work in I don't think I can get all the downed trees cut up and the brush burned before the cold weather forces me to head south again, let alone dealing with all the "stuff" in the buildings. The sheer enormity of the task seems incredibly daunting and I find it hard to even begin in the face of it, yet I know that's the only route to the lifestyle I want to be living.
I've always loved to travel and to see new places. My life is filled with wonderful memories of travel; summers as a child in Galveston and Houston, visiting family in the Twin Cities and northeast South Dakota, backpacking as a teenager in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, moving to Oregon as a young married woman and being too broke to do anything other than to go backpacking or gas up the '65 VW bus and drive some place new, becoming a motorcyclist and wandering - sometimes for a week or two- on the bike looking for new places to explore, becoming a snowbird as a retiree which opened up a whole new area of the country to explore in detail, and dozens if not hundreds of road trips in between.
I've rarely been keen on visiting cities, it's always been about the land. Any kind of land, from majestic mountains, broad and slow or untamed wild rivers, plateaus, canyons, rich and fertile river valleys, arid deserts, dense forests, wide-open prairie. I was born and raised in the prairie, I think its vast open spaces are in my blood and soul. The land West River SD ( west of the Missouri River) talks to me. I've driven through that part of the state more times than I can count, both as a child and as an adult, and each time I am overcome with the feeling of "I could live here". Most people traveling by road across western SD hate the trip. They complain that it's boring, that there's nothing to see. And there really isn't much to see, at least not at 75 mph. But if you stop, and wait, and watch, the sea of grass is teeming with life.
This bit of land in MN also talks to me. And so I'm torn. Between wanting to simplify my life, pack everything I own into an RV and head off to see the sights, and wanting to retain ownership of land. Yes, I know, no one really owns land, we just pay the government annually for the privilege of claiming to own it, but I get attached easily to patches of dirt. I find myself sitting here and pondering this dilemma. August is probably the worst time of the year to be in MN, or at least the worst time of the summer to be here. (Winters are a whole 'nother story.) The maturing corn is transpiring 3-4000 gallons of water per acre, and the high humidity combined with the hottest temps of the year is brutal. 90+ degrees with 90%+ humidity is never enjoyable, yet as I walk beyond the grove to watch the sunset I find it very hard to contemplate giving this up.
I will miss the granary with the 300 or so baby barn swallows that are born here every year, performing their aerial acrobatics over the yard, the pond with it's Canada geese, assorted ducks, Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, turtles, muskrats, beavers and mink, the whitetail does with their fawns that pass through the yard on their way to the pond each morning to drink, the great horned owls that nest in the grove, the red-tail hawks that patrol along the road each day, the Monarch butterflies that stop by the hundreds on their fall migration, the myriad wildflowers that bloom each in their season. I am loath to relinquish these things in the name of simplification.