I drove down those back country roads the same as I did every weekday. Typically I'd be noticing the beautiful greenery surrounding me. That is why we'd chose to live here in the South: its beauty is unbelievable. But for the past month, nothing had been typical.
We'd picked up and moved here from the bare desert West about three years ago. Work had gone awry, and there was little holding us there. Through job searches Jack had found good work as a manager in a factory, and I knew I could always find work in a bank. After his job was secured, we'd started looking for our dream house in the country.
There were many to choose from, and most a whole lot cheaper than the one we ended up purchasing, but ours was exactly what we were looking for. It was situated back from the main road quite a ways and was very private. It had a good well, a spring, and a cistern. Coming from the West, we understood the need for a good water source and a backup or two. There were several stocked ponds for fishing, a field for corn, one for hay, and a good sized pasture for animals. The remainder of the land was made up in woods, comprised of cedar and hardwoods. Since we would be heating exclusively with wood, trees were of upmost importance. The outbuildings, including an animal barn, chicken coop, and a shop, were in excellent repair. Everything seemed absolutely perfect.
We tried desperately to have children. Both of us wanted a full house. We were met every month with disappointment. After a couple of years, we turned to a fertility specialist who ran a battery of tests on both of us. That is how we found Jack's problem. Unfortunately, we had ignored the early symptoms, thinking that they were just the byproducts of being overwhelmed with trying to get pregnant. By the time the doctor found the problem and referred us to an oncologist, we were too late. Jack fought a good fight, but it simply wasn't enough.
So there I was. Stuck with a great farm and a great job with great people in a great place, and hating every minute of it.
Something on the road up ahead didn't look quite right. I slowed down to a crawl as I neared. A stream of water ran across the road. It looked only a couple inches deep, but I knew that it was deceptive. When the waters receded, a cross would be visible on the south side of the road; some other motorist hadn't been as familiar with the hills and vales of this road as I was and had tried to cross it unsuccessfully some years back.
I backed up and turned around. I'd go back a different way and see if the road was higher there. Slowing down to make the turn I was again faced with a stream of water covering that way too. I'd have to just go back home and hope I could get across my creek. There was no other way to get through.
Retracing my route from earlier, I made it home safely. The creek was a little high, but I knew I could cross just fine as long as I didn't hesitate in the middle. Once I was safely through I took my time ambling down the long driveway. I could see the creek's bed behind the fruit trees. The creek down here was a lot higher than back at the crossing, since a few other creeks emptied into it too. Buds were on the dogwoods up in the woods now; the Redbuds would be next.
My property looked deserted. I knew that the goats and sheep were under shelter in the barn, the chickens in the coop, and the dogs were scattered here and there trying to stay dry. Only trusty Jewel, the black and white Border Collie, lay on the front porch. She was my favorite of the three. She was the momma of them all, and grandmother to puppies still being born on the farm. She was older and had outgrown the jumpiness of puppy-hood and had grown in a stable, loyal, wonderful dog.
She watched me park the Jeep and get out. She stood up and walked to the edge of the porch, curious as to why I was already home. I patted her on the head, unlocked the front door, and went inside. continue to part 3