When you are 10 years old, living in Orange County, CA, and the center of an amazing group of friends, life doesn’t seem like it could get any better. Then your parents tell you you are moving to Hicksville, UT. You realize that life can get worse. Well, at least worse to your young mind. My world came crashing down. We moved from Anaheim, CA to Ogden, UT then a month after that we moved to Huntsville, UT. I had one neighbor and everyone else was at least a half mile away. I was an only child with parents who worked, a lot. I was 10 and a city-girl. I learned to love reading and TV. Soon I was a teenager, and Huntsville became an even worse place to live. It was a 35 minute drive to . . . anything. Then I was a young adult and so ready to move out and move on. I loved being hungry and driving 5 minutes to food or choosing to see a movie at the last minute and having plenty of time to get to the theater. Then life continued to happen, and I moved home at 27, back to Huntsville, back to a 35 minute drive to anything. Now I’m 30 and my dreams are coming true. I’ve been accepted to a PhD program and in 2.5 months, I will be moving to Lafayette, LA. And it’s turning into a classic case of “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. Well, it’s not gone yet, and I’m going to love every last second of living in Nowheresville, UT.
It’s spring, the birds are chirping, at 5:30 in the morning, and Fitzwilliam is twitching with predator instinct. The trees are in bloom, the grass is an almost unnatural green, and the weather is perfect. The bike has been tuned up, and I’m out. I’m out riding a long the back roads. Riding up to the little church my mom attends and my dad cleans. I ride up to say hi to my daddy. When I leave, I ride past baby colts sunbathing in the dewy grass next to their mamas. I wave to walkers, runners, other bike riders. I smile at those mowing their lawns and watering their plants at the kid keeping the lawns of the post office trim and proper. I nod my head at the drivers of tractors and county trucks, fire trucks and those with horse trailers. And the whole time I think that this is what it must be like to live in Mayberry.
It doesn’t take long to ride out of the little town into the outlying back roads. The wind whispers past me, brushing my damp skin with its cool breath. All the stresses of the week slip away as my mind wanders to the masterpiece that is God’s creation. I say hi to the man care-taking the monastery lands then I turn up and head towards the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity. And as I struggle up the itty bitty hill that is going to take me to this sanctuary, I whisper a fervent prayer that this monastery will outlast all industry and politics that wish to demolish it. I pray that these old devoted monks live forever, and keep this land- a remnant of a lost and forgotten time – as a place of peace. As I head for home, following the well known twists and turns of road, I let my mind wander and my heart feel the pulse of home that is Huntsville. I thank God that I was allowed to grow up in Mayberry.
I will miss home. For that is what Huntsville will always be, home. No matter where I travel or what adventures I partake in, Huntsville will be where my heart is. I am excited for something new, I do not regret my decision to leave home, but I will always cherish the red brick house with 2 acres of land and parents who argue over the chance to mow the lawns and a dog who wanders where he knows he’s not supposed to go. I will miss the tractor chugging along in the back pasture. I will miss those colts sunbathing next to their mamas and the neighbors who always have a minute to say hi or help you fix a fence. And I thank God that I finally understand what it really meant to grow up in a piece of paradise, and that I didn’t realize it too late. I will cherish every bike ride for the next 2 months then I will leave, for now.