Moving to the Country is a Dream Come True
When I was married, and the children were little, the weekend mornings would come around to great relief! No need for the hustle of a school morning with getting them up, clothed and fed and bustled out the front door for the school run. On the weekend we could take things a bit slower and just have time to mooch about in pj’s for an hour or two, perhaps idly watching the cartoons on the TV while eating a bowl of cereal sitting on the couch - which was usually strictly verboten! - until I’d then clap my hands together in an excited gesture to signal we were on the move and headed out for the day! At that signal everyone was up, dressed and ready for action! Keen to get us all out of the house into some fresh air and away from the usual weekday routine of school and work, we would all pile into the car for a drive out to the country.
One of my happiest memories of that time was the sense of security I felt we had as a family when we were all snuggled up and buckled up, spending time together in the car motoring on down the highway. It just used to please my heart being in such close proximity to the people I loved for such a length of time. I think the Sunday drive is one of life ’s old-fashioned, simple pleasures that families can truly enjoy before life gets to be dominated by busyness with all the outside commitments that divert time away from each other. Time spent together in the family car is very precious - I used to love it when we were kids driving with Mum and Dad in the old family Valiant - and it was something that appealed to me greatly when life was much more straightforward in those early years with my young family.
I loved the idea of taking a drive out to the country for the day. Though, as every mother knows, before heading out on an hour-long ride, first there must be snacks with a quick pit-stop at our local cafe for supplies for the trip, of course! Cappuccino and latte for the grown-ups, hot chocolates with marshmallows for the kids and toasties and croissants for everyone. This all kept tummies from rumbling and complaints at bay about being bored and asking the question, “Are we there yet?”. Yummy things to quell the munchies and a few silly games of “I Spy” always made for a perfectly timed, as well as a fun and happy trip.
As we drove out through the leafy green suburbs of Melbourne to where the city drops off to then reach the broad, green open spaces, I would quietly day-dream as we drove through the countryside. I would wonder about living on one of those properties with a long tree-lined driveway, behind the acreage outlined by pretty wooden white or black fence posts, always playing the game within myself of what colour fence posting I would have. I loved the white fences because they looked so fresh and pretty, though I really liked the black fencing because I thought it looked very chic and elegant against all the greenery, a little bit more posh and glamorous perhaps? Ah, choices, choices. It was just a little game that bemused me to while away the time on the drive. It was obviously a far-off fairytale… but, I used to wonder… what would it be like to live in the country?
I suppose that somewhere down deep within me, there was a yearning to have that dream come true, and as we all now know … it has! The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” appears to have been well at work here because as I now look around my country property with such a sense of pride and satisfaction, I have exactly what it was that I yearned for all those years ago. The dream and vision I held deep in my heart have come true. The only thing that’s not quite come true as part of my day-dreaming is the fencing! Drats! I never did get the glamorous and sophisticated white or black wooden post fencing, but have had to settle for a functional wire farm fence. Though, in my typical way, I am szhooshing it up to look pretty with espalier pear and apple trees, so all is not entirely lost in the style stakes!
Anyway, as we would drive for an hour or so to the designated spot in the country - east, west, south, north, it didn’t matter where we went, I was just always so keen to go there for a day away from the density of city living - and as I wandered around the country property of whatever rose, lavender or dahlia farm I had found, there was a little voice in my heart saying, ‘One day, I’ll have my own flower farm, and people will come to visit me.’
Of course, that all just seemed like a ridiculous concept that was way off in left field, considering our life was well and truly embedded with living in the city. Though things really do have a funny way of working out, and as I’ve learned in my 55+ years, when life serves you lemons, after allowing the time necessary to digest the sourness, one can move on to make lemonade. As I most certainly have done.
So fast-forward to today, and here I now am living in the country! I’ve done exactly what many people dream of doing - so much so that they make entire television shows about the idea! - and I have escaped to the country.
I am now the proud owner of a 2.5-acre property in stunning West Gippsland, 110km and a gorgeous, peaceful, green rolling hills world away from the harsh concrete and endless fast-paced demand of the city. This area is known as some of the most fertile agricultural land in Australia. It is the heart of the dairy country - as well as daffodil country, with my property plonked right in the middle of several daffodil farms - so I am now living on top of the richest, brown, luscious soil in the nation, which is a gardeners dream. I cannot believe my good fortune. Did I choose this spot or did it choose me? I genuinely think I’ve been ‘called’ out here to create a new life that is total alignment with my gifts and talents, those which have been inside me since I was a little girl, and which have saved me from despair and depression as an adult woman. Nothing is ever really an accident or a surprise. God indeed does have the plan and purpose for our lives. I have witnessed Him go ahead of me to place all the right people, places and situations to make my path straight. My new life is a testament to this.
So here I now am in a little parcel of land just outside the township of Warragul. It has a name and postcode, but is not actually a suburb or place, as such. It has a primary school, local tennis courts and a community hall, but that’s it. What it lacks in formal infrastructure, it makes up for in stunning scenery with the most glorious, rolling green hills - think of every movie made from a Jane Austen novel, and you have the picture of the same landscape - an open blue sky and a big horizon.
When I tell locals in ‘town’ that I live here, they all agree …. it is the most beautiful spot in the area. And everyone says the same thing about creating a garden here … just plant something, step back and watch it grow! I can already see the difference in how quickly and beautifully things grow here. One full year in the garden has shown the soil to be supernaturally charged with magic nutrients. Everything grows fast and big! The roses are the size of dinner plates, the vegetables are bigger and sweeter, the new trees look like they’ve been here for years ... it’s all absolutely stunning. It’s such a pleasure and a joy to know I’ve been led somewhere so very special, and I feel I will only come to love this land and be a part of it more and more as the years go by.
So my day-dreams of living in the country as a young wife and mother all those years ago have now become my new reality in my mid-life years.
I wasn’t thrilled about the way in which I finally got here, but I got here nonetheless, and the feeling is very sweet.
Despite the challenges I’ve faced with the most dreadful decade on record - despite it or perhaps, as I’ve often thought, because of it! - I’m still here!.
I’ve survived some of life’s most frightening and gruelling situations, and because of them, I’ve grown up to be a better person with a kinder, gentler and softer heart. I’m more forgiving of myself and others, understanding people better, knowing that we all have our quirks and personal challenges and that the compassion and grace I offer to others will be returned to me in kind.
All of this severe excavation of my most inner being has brought out the real me. I’m no longer interested in things that don’t feed my soul. Eschewing many aspects of my former social city life, I now am much happier leading a a simpler and quieter and due to the grace that the Lord has placed on my life - an ultimately more fulfilling and happier life on a farm, growing flowers, in the country. Xo