I grew up in a very small farm town in Northern California. My dad is a rice farmer, my brother is a rice farmer, my grandpa was a rice farmer…everyone farms! My brother and I would walk to school by ourselves without a blink of an eye – we would ride our bikes around town and no one ever worried – we would play flashlight tag at 10 pm while our parents played games inside (or whatever they did…). It was a different world 20 years ago but it’s still a different world in a small town. Life is simpler. We drove 45 minutes just to get groceries. The closest movie theater was a 15 minute drive and it only had one screen. The town has 2 restaurants. We don’t even have a stoplight. High school fun included bonfires, Friday night football games and “cruising” around town. We lived in “the middle of nowhere”.
I seriously couldn’t wait to leave that small town when I was about 15-18 years old. I thought it was so boring. Everyone knew everyone and you couldn’t do anything without someone hearing about it. When I graduated I wanted to leave town so badly. I ended up attending college 2 hours away. It was still close but far enough away. I remember moving into the dorms and thinking, “this town is HUGE!” It’s actually not huge at all compared to most cities but it was a big change for me. I only had to drive 5 minutes to get to a Target. There were sooo many restaurants nearby and so much to do within a 10 mile radius. I loved it!
After a few months, maybe even that first year, I found myself craving the open spaces of home. I realized I couldn’t ever see the stars, and I mean really see the stars. I could never escape the noise and there weren’t any back roads to travel to clear my head…what is up with that? So I would visit home. I would take that 2 hour drive and soak it in. Hills, fields, animals and fresh air. You could see for miles as soon as you pulled into my hometown. I love visiting my parents now. I feel a sense of relief when we pull into their driveway. It’s no longer my “home” but it still feels that way, and probably always will. I’m proud that I grew up there. I treasure it now. One of my favorite things about that little town is seeing the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. They are always beyond beautiful!
I took these two photos a few days ago when we were home for my brother’s birthday. They are both of the same sunrise. I took one and then took the other about 4 minutes later while the sun was actually rising. My parents have a fantastic open view in all directions from their house and I just love it there. Aaaahhhh…