Like an old timer patiently whittling a bit of art from an old branch, we are slowly carving out a beautiful life here in the Pennsylvania countryside. Just as the form eventually emerges from the edge of the pocket knife flicking soft pine, our life here is taking shape.
Finally. I noted the other day that, although we have lived here going on two years now, we have never lived in this home in the spring. Not that you'd know it was spring here. As I type on this first day of spring, snow is whipping around our house, smacking against windows. We first moved here in June 2011, the fire forced us from our house in January 2012 and we weren't able to move back until this past June. So, strangely, this has technically been our first winter here as well.
I feel settled in now. No longer waking during the night to feel outlets for unusual warmth and the sight of smoke billowing from a chimney doesn't makes my heart jump around my chest. The smell of the neighbor firing up his wood burning stove doesn't cause me to run to the attic to check for smoke. After feeling like we were on pause for most of last year, the movie of life is well underway. Friends, routines, favorite places... And the backdrop for the entire film: our village. If our quaint town is the scenery it must be said that my beautiful friend Shawna and her family are the stars of this movie we're making.
Back story: Shawna's family has lived in our town for many, many years. Her dad, Farmer Frank, was born here six decades ago. His parents bought the farm in 1951. It goes without saying that Shawna and her two sisters were born here. Although they've all married they still live here too. Three hot, blonde farm girls that live down the lane. The three sisters built houses across the cornfield from their dad and mom, all next-door neighbors. Isn't that like something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book? Or Willa Cather? Farming family raising generations in the village of their birth? Of their parents birth. Of their grandparents birth.
Their children (the fourth generation) are all Violet and Henry's age, or older, which makes the village even better than it already is. Violet and Henry are making friends that they will know all the way through high school. That's what I wanted when moving here. Wide open space but a community of friends. Solid children my babies can grow up with whose parents I call friends.
The families go out of their way to include us in all their traditional festivities. Halloween hayrides during which Farmer Frank pulls the gang around with his tractor, backyard bonfires, dinners at the old inn down the street, rides in the mountains and, most recently, a sledding party held on the big hill that slopes down into Farmer Frank's house.
Starting traditions. Outdoor fun. Friends. Snow, sleds, bonfire, roasted hot dogs, s'mores, and lots of laughter. This? This is why we moved here.