Tuesday, July 20, 2010

City blooming

We have a big peach tree in our backyard.  It's not usually much to look at, but every other year (yes, just every other year for some reason) it bears the most glorious peaches.  I love it.

My kids love it too.  They shimmy up the little trunk, perch in the branches, and look out over...well...the alley.  And the street.  Maybe not much of a view, but they're kids, so they think it's really neat anyhow.

When I was a little girl my dad built us a ranch-style home on a ten-acre almond orchard.  I can remember climbing my share of trees and taking cool evening walks on our property, filling cups and buckets with the almonds we'd pick.  My childhood was spent, for the most part, living in rural California with lots of trees and space to play and dream.

As for my own children, well, they have yet to live on more than what amounts to a city lot.  They have spent their time between two homes: one in a new tract-housing development in California, and now our current home which is in an old Denver neighborhood.  (My boys of course lived in an orphanage too, but I'm not counting that.)  Sometimes I really wish we owned some acreage, that we had a creek to play in or an old tire swing to swing on.  I think about lazy summer afternoons where my kids could just fall out the front door and run around to their hearts' content.  No traffic or sirens at night.  Just lots of quiet.

We actually used to imagine ourselves buying a place out in the country.  But then we decided we'd rather do the city thing for now.  So, here we are.

Sometimes I look at my city-living children and think about their childhoods.  I try to compare them to mine.  (Which I LOVED.)  To figure out what is really best.  But all I really see is that my kids are having tons of fun.  No creek on our corner lot, true, but the little people in my home LOVE riding their bicycles down the shady tree-lined streets, greeting people and dogs as they pass.  We don't have a tire swing, but we have a great time walking down South Pearl Street for a treat on a warm summer's day.  And chatting with the Ethiopian man who works at the 7-11 where we buy our powdered donuts and chocolate milk.  Then we often find ourselves eagerly sifting through treasures at the yard sales spilling onto the sidewalks each and every weekend.

I have to tell you that there were also times as I was growing up when we lived "in town"--while my dad was building the house my parents live in now.  And, quite frankly, I loved those years too.  Riding my bike, walking with my mom to get a donut or to browse around KMart, listening for the ice cream man...yes, those were special times too.

{And I discovered something when we uprooted our family and moved to Denver and pretty much started over two-plus years ago.  It was that home is, well, where we are.  We can thrive anywhere.  My children don't need any one particular thing to be happy.  They make their own fun.  Kevin and I are apparently the same way.}

It seems there are pros and cons to pretty much any living situation.  Just last night I was talking to a friend on the phone who said she'd love to live several different lives--so many options for where to live, what kind of lifestyle to lead.  She wished she could do all of them, and I kind of do too.  Because part of me really would like to live out in the middle of nowhere and have a huge vegetable garden (okay, in all likelihood I would probably kill all the veggies within about a week, but I can dream) and wide open spaces for my kids to run around.  But the other part of me loves where we live, and the community that we have, and the fact that my kids adore our neighbors (even though we don't even know them super well).  I can walk to a cute coffeeshop, Safeway, Starbucks, lots of restaurants, a park, a library.

Childhood has the potential to be magical, no matter where it is spent.  Wherever we live, I want to do it well--taking advantage of where God has us at this very time in our lives.  That's not hard to do when you love where you're at, and for now anyway I totally do.  In part because I love having convenient access to things.  AND, we are easily less than an hour from majestic mountain trails and rural outdoorsy stuff for times when we want to get away.  Seriously, I am convinced that some of the most amazing beauty in the world is here in Colorado.  If you don't believe me, then you simply have to see it for yourself.  The Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas and state parks are stunning.  And we've barely touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of exploring them for ourselves!

But either way, we have a peach tree in our backyard.  Which is pretty great, because even if we spend the next twenty years here in the city--and we very well might, because I do love the city--my kids will have fond memories of climbing a tree, scraping their elbows on said tree, and tasting the sweet, juicy fruit of a freshly picked peach.  They may be city kids by default, but they've got some country in 'em too.  They're climbing trees, just like I used to. 

Only difference is, they see an alley when they get to the top.


Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly. We've lived right in the middle of the city and now we live way out in the country (complete with the chickens and the vegetable garden) and I love both, and so do my kids.

That peach tree- do you prune it annually? If not, it might help. =)

Brianna Heldt said...

We don't, but someone told me it's the kind that only produces fruit every other year, and so far, it seems to be the case. But now you have me intrigued!!!

Missed you today!


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