Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Though I live in the suburbs, there are rural aspects to my neighborhood. Septic systems rather than sewers. A stubborn attachment to winding two-lane roads. And then there are the farms behind the houses across the street.

These are not big operations with silos and combines. These are not even the "gentleman farms" I got to know in New England. (Now those are my kind of spreads — picturesque orchards run by retired heads of English Departments.)

These are four-acre parcels with houses of varying value. Some still have the original ranches and split-foyers, but most have large multi-gabled mansions that were built after the originals were torn down.

Sometimes I walk on the trails that wind through this neighborhood. I imagine the kind of place I'd like to have — herbs, flowers, chickens, a writing cabin in the back — nothing profitable, of course. I while away time moseying and fantasizing.

But usually, before I get home, something has brought me up short. Maybe it's a prickle-bush barring entry to a favorite cut-through. Or a pile of manure I notice too late. Some bit of rural reality that intrudes on my fantasies. "Neigh," say the horses in the pasture.

Nay, indeed.

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