Rural life is a funny thing.
It’s gives me immense joy and incredible sadness.
Joy is sitting at a table laughing with your aunt, peeling the potatoes and prepping the sweat peas that you gathered that day, because meals are made from scratch from food you’ve grown yourself.
It’s picking juicy red currant and gooseberries right off the bush and popping them into your mouth, because they don’t even need to be washed from pesticides, and you don’t care if there’s a bug on them because, hey, extra protein.
Joy is living day to day, allowing the seasons and the weather to dictate the day’s activities. If it’s raining, you’ll stay inside and clean and cook. If it’s not, you’ll go outside and work.
Joy is walking into your aunt’s house to visit her and drink her homemade wine, hanging out while she naps because no one locks their doors here and you can invite yourself in anytime, anywhere.
And somewhere, in your cloud of joy, sitting under a tin roof on a piece of cardboard, drinking raspberry beers with an old friend, you start reminiscing about your childhood. The hours you spent playing outdoors, the bonfires you had and the yard you use to break into to eat plums at night.
You realize how quickly time flies and that your childhood is long gone. You open your eyes and see how difficult rural life can be, and it’s not all sunshine and butterflies. You notice how many of the people around you are living below the poverty line, and how many are plagued by alcoholism as an escape and your heart breaks.
It breaks for the bright girl with a promising future, who dropped out of school. It aches for the boy you once cared for, who hung himself two years ago. It hurts for the children who were taken away from their neglectful family and put into foster care. It shatters for boy who said he was going to marry you one summer when you were fifteen, who is now an alcoholic with a jail record and a small child. These were all people you once knew and had happy memories with, and now their lives have changed greatly, all because they could never rise above their lives in this village.
There isn’t much else to say, or do for that matter, aside from count my blessings and still seek the joy I once found here.