My mom likes to remind me ever so often, that when I was a child, we would drive through these small towns with lots of farms and countrysides and I would say, "who would ever want to live in such a boring place? There is absolutley nothing to do here!" She reminds me because now, I live in one of these small towns with lots of farms and countrysides.
My town I live in has 574 people in it. The next town over has 533 people in it (although a good friend of mine just birthed a little one in a yurt-like structure, so it may be 534 now). Although we are few, we are rich with the little things that matter to me most...community. From the monthly square dances and potlucks (yee-haw) to fiddle playing on the neighbors porch...from fire dancing in front of a teepee to weekly pizza night at the neighbors...meal wheels for the newly birthed family or ill child, a tow with the farmer-down-the-road's tractor, cow burying, garden tilling, house building, raspberry picking, chicken butchering, fence moving, bartering and eh...sheep wrangling.
Bring in Caramel, Cocoa, Coffee and their three adorable baby lambs. Making a run for it, through the electric fence and down the road...at 7 o'clock in the morning. Before I have had my coffee (this is a really important piece of the story, as I rarely do anything before I have had at least two cups of coffee...fresh cream and maple syrup, please). These are a new flock of critters, so they are not easily grain led or even used to any of us, so the closer we get to them, the further they go. And go, did they...on a two mile wild...eh...sheep chase. I will spare you the details of the next three hours (involving a trampling of the neighborhood sheriff's day lilies...sorry, Justin, and a friend jumping out of the shower with a head full of shampoo to help stop the stampeding flock...thanks Rachel). The sheep were eventually wrangled back to the barn, but it took this neighborhood, this tribe of folks on our country 'block' to get them safely back into their paddocks, where they were on lock down for the next week or two. I could not have done it alone. If it wasn't for this community that showed up to help, I would have surely given up on hour one and let the sheep go wild.
And, in so many instances throughout my life...if it wasn't for others, I would have surely given up.
We never truely know the impact we have on others or on how others can impact our lives. A look, a touch, a hug, words of encouragement, a phone call. Things go unsaid, friendships fade, lovers leave, neighbors move. But, it is these little connecting moments, strung together, that leave such a huge imprint within. They make us stronger. They make us wiser.
They make us know we matter.
This community. This 'boring, little small town' is how I know I matter.
I am truely grateful for the community of friends and neighbors that this small town has given me. I am grateful that when I walk into the co-op, I know most of the folks there. I am grateful that my bank teller knows my name (and everyone else's). I am grateful that my children are being raised by many, in this small little town I call home. Most importantly, I am grateful for the genuine connections that seem to flourish in a town of 574 people.
Never underestimate what three hours of sweaty sheep chasing can do for you.