California girls wish they were Pennsylvania girls.

This is Mother Nature.  She is unforgiving.  You can challenge her all you want to, but clearly she knows best.

Pennsylvania.  My roots.  When you get close to nature, you get close to God.

I have lived among deer, horses, bats, cows, eagles, hummingbirds, crickets, assorted critters, racoons, and woodpeckers for 22 years of my life.  While I lived here, I never took it for granted, I was always outside.  As kids we would rake out forts in between the trees.  We would take an entire snow day to build an icy snow ramp so big, that we would get scared and trick my little brother into “test launching” it for us.

As a pre-teen, I rode my horse through the field in which my parent’s house now stands.  We would take our horses, bring lunch with us and ride all day long.  When we would finally break for lunch, we would untack and let the horses graze while we ate under the trees and gossiped about boys.  We would always work swimming into our non-existant schedule, taking our horses into the creek with us and jump off their backs into the water.  Priceless moments, surrounded by nature.

Our “walks around the block” were hiking all day in farmer Brown’s woods, or walking into Maryland to see how far we could get and what we could find.  We would stumble upon wonderous historic sights like old Civil War paths that the soldiers used to get to the Brandywine Battlefield.  Or stumble upon ruins of centuries-old stone houses.

I used to go into the woods alone a lot, and sometimes I would get lost.  Let me tell you, for those few minutes where you start to panic, but before it dawns on you that, much like life, panic will get you nowhere, you are acutely aware that you are alive.  Furthermore, you appreciate it.  After your inate survival skills kick in, and you realize just how precious your life is, you instantly respect Mother Nature. Now you know for a fact that she’s unforgiving.   You can challenge her all you want to, but the odds are you won’t win.  However, should you win, it’s because she let you win, and you are very lucky.  Being in the country this time around reminded me of all that.  Mostly I was reminded that I grew up at a phenomenal time in a phenomenal place.

I left the country many years ago, after college when I got very first big girl job.  Consequently, I ended up forgetting my roots.  Until recent years, I had forgotten how to appreciate my home.   My equestrian lifestyle had started to become a bigger chore than joy.   But then one day, I went riding with a very busy CEO who used riding for which I started riding for…the pure joy of it.  The connection with your magestic animal.  The connection with nature.  My incessant chatter while riding finally plucked his last neve because he just stopped riding, looked at me and said

“Jenna! Don’t you like quiet while you ride!? I like quiet!”

I never laughed so hard.  He was right! Here I am surrounded by 99 acres of prime gorgeousness, and I’m just riding because the horse needed exercise.   How the hell did I let that happen? Where was the dis-connect?

After that, I started to think about how I used to ride.  I used to ride.  My horse at the time, Tasha and I would explore every inch of southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.  Beaten paths, off the beaten paths.  Up rocky cliffs, in between trees, through mud holes up to her knees, and water up to her belly.  Lost.  Found.  All around.  There were a few times where that horse saved my life.  If it wasn’t  for her animal instinct, and my trust in her to just “grab mane” and hold on, I wouldn’t be typing this.  I surrendered to her – dropped my reins and relinquished all control over the situation.  My surrender helped save my life.  This is Mother Nature.  She is unforgiving.  You can challenge her all you want to, but clearly she knows best.

Today, I sat against my barn and watched my Scarlett and the other horses  graze.  They had no concerns, except the business of eating grass.   Simple.  I am always intrigued by their simplicity, especially when I realize that I myself have forgotten simplicity.   I started to reminisce about last summer.  It was the greatest summer of my life.  The one thing that I did then that I wasn’t doing now was the habit of laying in my horse’s pasture with them and letting them graze all around me.  A habit that I had slightly abandoned recently, which I believe lead to my discontent.  listening to the sound of them pulling up grass coupled with the sound of frogs and crickets as the air clicked from hot and muggy to crisp and chilly was my meditation.  That is how I was re-connecting with nature.  Somewhere, my good intention got lost.

Today’s revelation, as well as re-establishing a good habit, and with serendipitous help from a friend, I was able to rekindle my love affair with the country.  I have honestly never felt more in tuned with myself.  With God and humanity, and with Mother Nature herself.  I am now appreciating the fact that I have the best of both worlds.  I can still live in the city, surrounded by culture and be just as career driven as I am, but I can also take my jeep mudding with some Skynard, Aldean, & Kid Rock every now and again.   For some reason the marriage of my city life with my country roots just works for me.  I don’t know how or why, and who cares anyway.  It. Just. Works.