Tucked as we are amongst the corn fields and soybeans, it’s a quiet existence. There’s one stoplight in our tiny town. Flags line Main Street, fluttering just above hanging baskets exploding with riotous colors. In the summer, the baseball fields bustle with activity as small players tucked beneath outsized caps trot on and off the diamonds. Shouts from eager parents drift through the evening air, reaching our yard as twilight falls. Little League ends, and the buses return, bringing an influx of soccer moms. Twice a day, our rural road becomes a freeway as they ferry their charges to the schoolhouse doors. Then evening comes, and the town falls silent, tucked beneath a blanket of darkness. Two doors down, a beagle named Sadie rolls over in her bed. A cricket chirps. The villagers sleep. It’s an idyllic existence, living in this small American town. And yet. And yet I have dreams, dreams of seeing the great, wide world beyond the corn fields. Past the line where the familiar ends and the unknown begins. I’d like to go adventuring and see that great wide world. I’d like to travel west and see the canyon grand. I want to see the rocks, the cliffs, to watch the sun break, spilling molten gold atop the canyon’s rim. I’d like to stand in silence, awed, as a solitary tear trails down my trembling cheek. It’s not just the beauty that’s making me cry. It’s the chance to see, for once, a crater dug by Someone else (God) in an artful way (layered rock) that’s not tearing up my landscaping.
Give a boy three acres and a shovel, and he will dig. He’ll find, for instance, a rock that’s vaguely shaped like an arrowhead. Imp that he is, he’ll convince his younger brother that the Indian that goes with it is buried there. Abandoning the weeds, they’ll dig holes all over the place, looking for that long-expired fellow. They won’t find him, of course, but they’ll have spent most of an afternoon digging. Dreamers that they are, those boys will roam the property, searching for buried treasure. Using a metal detector, they will dig wherever it pings, eager, breathless, hoping to find forgotten gold. But lo! What is this? The “treasure” appears to be moving. Mystified, they work furiously until the realization hits – they’ve detected two things. First, that they have a metal shovel, and second, that their jeans have metal snaps. Rats. You can see why I’d like to make that trip. Thanks to those guys, I’m even tempted trot through Pamplona while we’re over there. Not that I want to participate in the actual running of the bulls, mind you. I’d just like to know if waving a red hanky really does set them off. Is this an urban legend, an old wives’ fable? What? In an odd way, it would be relaxing. Sure, those creatures have fur. Sure, they’ve got horns. Sure, they’ve got bad breath on one end and hooves on the other. But that’s nothing compared to the crowd that thunders through the kitchen when I holler, “Dinner’s ready!” It’d be a treat to sit on the sidelines for once, watching someone else dodging flying feet and flashing teeth. Let the Spaniards worry about whether the fur’s sticking up or lying down just so. That’s one melee I won’t referee. Why, I feel relaxed just thinking about it. Another place I’d like to visit is Italy. I’m picturing a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Venice with the handsome Mr. Schrock. There we are, waves lapping gently, as a tall, muscular Italian poles slowly along. The sun is setting, gilding the water. Along the shore, a group of strolling troubadours plays a lilting tune. Here, no one is digging holes or rocking the boat. Oh, wait. Someone is rocking the boat, but it’s only the tall, muscular Italian, swatting mosquitoes. Careful there, buddy. On Mr. Schrock’s end, he’d like to see the great cathedrals. He dreams of sitting under the sound of world-class choral music ringing in those hallowed halls. Me, I’m too worried about sneezing or coughing during the performance, which would create an echo and mess up the acoustics. After all, chiming in with a big kablooie as the sopranos are hitting a high note in that one Handel piece, well, you’re pretty much persona non grata then. That’s too much pressure for me. I’d also love to experience the white sand, beautiful waterfalls, and tropical greenery of Hawaii. Who knows? I might get caught up in all that luau excitement and try a grass skirt on for size. Germany and Scotland are options, too, although The Mister says the lederhosen and skirts with knee highs make him a little nervous. I think he’ll be fine. We’ll just pack plenty of Dockers and Levis. If we visit Hawaii, though, I’m making him leave the grass trimmers at home. I don’t want my new skirt messed up.