Saying Hello and Goodbye to the Countryside

You know how you don’t much care for a certain kind of food, and then you suddenly crave it? I went through that with bananas and melons. Now it’s happening again… only it’s not food, it’s countryside.

Let me explain… it’s not that I don’t/didn’t like the countryside. On the contrary, I found it fascinating as a child. But I am a city girl, I’ve always been one, and what I did hate was the idea of living in a rural area (to be fair, small town life appealed to me even less). But growing up, I did spend a lot of time in the country, visiting my great-grandmother who lived in a quaint village not far from town. I learnt about farm life, rural living and nature. What might appear simple living nowadays was absolutely fascinating to me as a child. Gardening and harvesting were fun games to me, almost as amusing as climbing trees. In spite of all that, the best part about the countryside was that I could leave it whenever I wanted and return to the comfort of urban living.

These days I feel drawn to rural areas and it’s a strange sensation. I catch myself noticing a nice old cottage, wondering how it might be to live there. I see a beautiful garden and I catch myself thinking, “I’d love to have a small garden of my own”. I drive by a front yard and I remember how much I like hens and how I’d like to eventually raise a few. I’m not quite at the point of saying, “I’d like to live in the country”, but I can admit to thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a tiny weekend/holiday cottage in a nearby village?”

Sometimes thoughts and situations tie up in funny ways, I was once again reminded when reading Amy’s topic for this week’s Lens Artists Challenge – Countryside and/or Small Town. On one hand, I’ve been posting various photos from rural areas this summer; on the other, I’ve been thinking a lot of my great-grandmother and the way she used to be. So I’ll reminisce for a moment, as I metaphorically say goodbye to a place which will soon exist only in my memories…

I can still see myself in the guest room of her house – a house she and my great-grandfather built with their own hands. I’m sitting at a small blue desk by the window, peeking through a dusty lace curtain. Instead of seeing the trees in front or the chickens in the yard, I imagine myself a great writer. (I had just discovered the epistolary novel and I couldn’t help wondering, what it would be like… after all, I loved writing letters.) No point in writing letters though, I’d be home soon enough; but I could write in my diary…

I can also vividly remember my great-grandmother, her jokes, her love for life and her attachment to that place. But all that is in the past. I incidentally found out my grandmother is going to sell the property to an investor who will tear everything down and build several houses. The town is constantly expanding and the nearby village is turning into a suburb of sorts. The news got to me more than I would have ever expected. How my great-grandmother would fight against it… how she would hate this… how she would put my grandmother in her place and chastise her for even entertaining such a thought… But she’s gone, and life is for the living. After all, the soul of that place disappeared when she passed away, even if its essence survived in our memories.

21 Replies to “Saying Hello and Goodbye to the Countryside”

  1. A similar thing happened with my parents. They sold pasture land for apartment complexes, and they sure regretted it later. But, at the time, they needed the money. As you stated, life is for the living.

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  2. This is a beautiful story, Ana. Of your childhood and your grandmother and great grandmother – and of your thoughts and memories. I grew up much at my grandmothers’ country house, and I often think about what happened to it and the land when it was sold. Your images are beautiful and do bring my own childhood back.

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    1. Thank you, Ann-Christine. I think having the opportunity to experience the countryside with its rustic essence provides a special perspective to a child, rounding up their education.


    1. It certainly does. Yes, she would be happy to know it – I think she knew what she meant to me. As for the images, they’re mental ones, the featured photos have nothing to do with the area where she lived. The few photos I do have are not from the glory days.


  3. lovely photos – the third one down with the two white heads – has an artistic symmetry effect – very cool.
    and this line: But she’s gone, and life is for the living.
    well said
    hope things turn out well on the property –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful photos! Love these selections. Your story reminds me that the countryside we often visit is slowly turning into a town, may be a small city in the future.
    Thank you for sharing your stories and sweet memories of you grandparents. So glad you are joining in!

    Liked by 1 person

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