Breathing Space

When we moved into our house 22 years ago this month, we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We loved the rural feel of our new hometown, surrounded by trees and open fields. But our realtor at the time warned us what was coming. She told us not to get too attached to any schools because our kids wouldn’t stay there very long. I had no idea what she meant.

In 1998, the population in Loudoun County, VA was around 142,000 people. By the 2010 census, the population had jumped to 312,000 and was still growing.

As it turns out, the realtor was right. Our kids attended two elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. We never moved. The school boundaries kept changing to keep up with the exploding population growth.

Today, our county’s population estimate is 412,000. Clearly, we no longer live in the middle of nowhere!

If Trees Could Talk

As you might imagine, it is difficult finding any open or green space to stroll along in such a crowded area. But I am fortunate to live beside one (as yet) unspoiled street that is still lined with trees and wildflowers. There are several older homes on the street, and one in particular has a massive tree in the front yard. I have no idea what type of tree it is. It has a huge trunk and stands at least three stories tall. My arms would never reach around it. On my morning walks, I often stop just to gaze up into its branches. I couldn’t guess the age of the tree, but I’ll bet if it could talk it would have some amazing stories to tell.

A Need to Breathe

I know I talk about this often, but as I age I am discovering how much I miss being outdoors. Part of that may be because I work indoors, seated at a desk all day.

The other part is remembering my childhood when I was always outdoors. Year-round, in every kind of weather. My playground was the beach in my back yard, and my weekends were often spent camping in the mountains with my family. If I wasn’t splashing in tidal pools, then I was picking up pinecones and chasing chipmunks. To this day, I love the familiar scents of ocean surf and campfires.

At some point I think we all tire of the canned “Febrezey” air and blue screens that surround us. That’s the perfect time to step outside and breathe in the fresh air and blue skies beyond your front door.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. – Psalms‬ ‭145:5‬

Time and Space

Despite all the crazy weather forecasts from a week ago, I didn’t buy into the hype about a big snowstorm coming our way. Yesterday was certainly brisk, with a few snowflakes thrown in, but we didn’t need to break out the shovels.

I have a very short drive to work each day, and my route takes me down a single lane, unpaved road. Even though there are townhomes springing up all around the edges of our neighborhood, this one little road allows me a brief drive through the countryside each day. I drive slowly because there are usually deer grazing in the tall grass on the shoulders, and their movement can be unpredictable. I’ve had a few close calls at night!

There are several older farmhouses tucked in along the road from an era gone by. Their gravel driveways and overgrown hedges stand in stark contrast to the perfectly manicured lawns on the next street over. But this time of year their yards come to life with flower bulbs that were likely planted generations ago. One sunny morning I stopped my car and leaned out the window to take a photo of some beautiful daffodils (pictured above). I sat quietly for a few moments before another car appeared in my rear view mirror. It was time to move on.

It is during such brief moments that I find myself increasingly longing for a quiet place in the country where I can sip my morning coffee and marvel at God’s creation. My favorite thing to do is watch the variety of birds visiting our feeders and birdhouses and listen to their beautiful songs.

At this stage in life, I know a quieter time is not far away. The trick now is finding a way to incorporate more of these moments into my everyday life. I will look forward to sharing these special times with you. 😊