Grit Blogs > Almost Country

Here We Are: Putting Down Roots and Watching the Unexpected Grow

Wild Strawberry

Just when I think nothing can grow in this forested yard but trees, a few straggly weeds, and the occasionally spectacular fungi, there they are: wild strawberries. Three tiny red berries and a little yellow blossom heralding the impending arrival of at least one more.

It’s funny what can take root in unexpected places.

Just when I think we surely must move to have the life we want, here we are: two people getting involved in the local art scene, volunteering our time and talents, happy with life and each other, feeling a sense of community we imagined we’d find later, when we moved to the country. When I changed my lifestyle. When we followed our dreams. Later. Down the road. Not here, in our Chicago suburban town. Not now.

And yet here we are, putting down roots — and thriving. What’s changed? My commitment. I’ve always had one foot out the door, looking ahead to the next thing. For the first time in a long while, I'm embracing what is, and I’ve got both feet firmly planted on the ground.

Blame it on the economy. Or being one year away from 50. Or a summer of witnessing too many personal tragedies. Something nudged me into now. And here we are. Committed to blooming where we’re planted. Nurturing our dreams on this bald and shady patch of land where — lucky us — the unexpected grows.

mountain woman
9/5/2010 1:00:27 PM

Colleen, I've been thinking about what you've written a lot lately. Been on my mind quite a bit in fact. I do believe there's something so satisfying about seeing the beauty where you are each day and making the most of and thriving in that place in time. As a military wife, we were constantly on the move and if I had waited for "when," my life would have passed me by. We can make our selves happy and content and look for the silver lining or we can always dream of something else. You are very wise.


s.m.r. saia
9/2/2010 12:30:40 PM

Colleen, well said. I've undergone a similar kind of change over the past year. I totally get where you're coming from. Shannon


robyn dolan
9/1/2010 9:13:34 AM

As usual, Nebraska Dave spews wisdom...it's the old adage - "bloom where you're planted". Sometimes things work out in strange ways. I always love the wild strawberries, but there never seem to be enough of them! They're still growing in my mom's city flower beds. What I wouldn't give to get even them out here in dusty, dry AZ. Keep the faith! Do your homesteading where you're at and who knows, maybe someday you'll get the opportunity to move farther out. But as Dave points out, by then, will you really want to?


nebraska dave
8/30/2010 4:06:26 PM

@Colleen, those wild strawberries are almost a nuisance weed to me. I mistakenly thought they were regular strawberries and tried to cultivate them in a garden bed. They exploded in growth and to this day I’m still fighting the good fight to eradicate them from my garden beds. I’ve been told that the teeny tiny little berries are quite tasty and the birds and critters certainly think so. That would be another magnet for the critters to check out my garden beds. So I’m not too overjoyed about seeing wild strawberries in my yard or garden. I too have given up the dream of owning an acreage and living a self sustaining life. I’ve discovered that it’s a hard life battling the elements of weather, critters, bugs, and diseases in both plants and animals. I’ve come to a season in life where contentment with where I am is OK. The Urban Ranch keeps me more than busy with all the projects going on. Nine years ago life put me on a course of seeking relationships in many different ways as opposed to doing all things on my own in seclusion. Community whether in cyberspace or neighborhood space is more important than getting things accomplished in my own strength. Yeah, I still have my alone away time but not nearly as much as I used to. Have a great content day.