Six inches of snow coat the dock just beyond my back door and at least twelve inches of snow blanket the 11-acre pond, where we’ve spent many mornings cross country skiing or ice skating this winter. Our canoe, nicknamed Tippy Canoe after several wet mishaps last fall, is almost forgotten: a frosty hill in shades of white, gray, and ivory.
I’m eager for spring.
While the sound of the plow sweeping past our new house is helpful (and a sign that though I’m living in the country and over a mile from my closest neighbor, I’m not forgotten), I miss the soundtrack of the spring: the rat-a-tat of the woodpecker and buzz of the hummingbirds; the splash of the mergansers, canvasbacks and wood ducks. I’m anticipating chicks for our chicken coop, a Chesapeake Bay retriever puppy, and establishing a garden in untouched soil.
But I didn’t always live here. In fact, if you’d asked me five years ago if I ever thought I’d leave the city life behind in favor of rural country roads, I would have laughed. Nope, not me. Not suburban urban Kristen.
Isn’t it funny how things work out?
Moving from the City
Born and raised in Livonia, a suburb just outside of Detroit, I grew up linked to the city through annual family pilgrimages to the North American International Auto Show and to the many traveling theater productions held at the Fox Theatre, Fisher Theatre and Masonic Temple. My connection continued once I got my driver’s license, giving my friends and I free reign to head to the city to catch local bands at the small clubs and headliners at the bigger venues.
After college, my relationship with the city grew as I began my 12-year career as a marketing and event planning specialist for a large law firm headquartered in one of the most premier spots in the city. I got to know the city on a different level and explored some of the more prestigious and business-centered areas that were previously foreign to me.
The Country Calls
But though my link to the city stayed steady, something else in me wanted more. My husband felt that same pull — that maybe, just maybe, living and working in a city wasn’t really all it was cracked up to be. After some deliberation and planning, in the summer of 2012, my family and I left the big city to move to a small town in Vermont and embark on a different kind of adventure.
It took a few months to acclimate to the area, but not as long as we thought. Once established in our new locale, we spent more time outside than inside and enjoyed many surprises like the great blue heron flying in to snatch its dinner from our pond or the wild blackberry bushes dripping with fruit.
I also began to focus on writing more, and researched and published an article on the connection between women hunters and local food that appeared in National Geographic in November 2013, igniting a new passion for wild food as a local food source. I decided to return to school and found a program that allows me to focus on this new passion of food and sourcing. I am near completion of a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Food Systems – a degree that not only keeps me ahead of the curve on nutrition and environmental issues linked to our food system, but also excites me with the possibilities of what I can do once I complete it.
While this move may have seemed drastic to both family and friends, it is a decision we haven’t regretted at all. In fact, it’s a decision we wished we’d made earlier.
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