When I lived west of Anderson in the log house, friends wanted me to install a dusk-to-dawn light, but I said I enjoy the darkness.
When I need a light I can turn it on but the rest of the night I appreciate the brightness of the stars and the blackness of the night. I used to joke that I only plugged in an electric clock when I wanted to know what time it was. Electricity was something I monitored. Of course, the refrigerator and freezer and hot water tank ran without monitoring but that was about all. When I wanted water and turned the spigot on I activated the water pump — there was some kind of control there on utility expenses.
What an adjustment now that I've moved to town. If I use a gallon of water in town I am charged for sending a gallon into the sewer as well, even if it's gray water that goes to the flowerbeds or sprinkling the lawn. Street lights illuminate the house throughout the night and sensor lights light the way for the stray cats to cross the yard. I look around after lights are out and the carbon monoxide monitor and smoke detector lights are on, the VCR clock, the stove clock, the bedside clock radio, and surge protectors for the computer and stereo, the telephone message machine — the ice maker on the fridge clicks on and flushes water into the basin and the furnace clicks off and on during the night. It is, of course, a luxury that I enjoy, being able to adjust the thermostat to comfort — in the country I felt I had to justify a fire — spring and autumn I kept an eye on the thermometer and lived a lot of time in the 50s as it was too much trouble to build a fire. It is nice to have rubbish pick up and a fire department and police department close by.
Both life styles have their advantages. I enjoyed the visits from the deer in the country, but there are birds and squirrels in our little village and the branch behind the house encourages other wild life. My grandparents who lived well in McDonald County in the '30s and '40s independent of luxuries would shudder at the dependence upon utilities and city services.
I am still adjusting to the convenient facilities as well as the responsibilities of living in town. You can water the lawn as long as you care to, just expect a bigger utility expense. Green verdant lawn instead of the wild violets.
It is different, it is change and at each time of our life the demands and the rewards change. Nothing stays the same. Emerson tells us: "Nature will not sit still; the faculties will do somewhat; new hopes spring, new affections twine, and the broken is whole again."
Page 2 of 2 - I have dear memories of the house in the woods, it was what I needed and enjoyed at the time, but today the village fills my needs and heart.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." — Ecclesiastes 3:1 This season of my life has its own purpose and it, too, is good.
Come by and visit me at the McDonald County Historical Museum on the square in Pineville for a look at yesteryear. You can write to us at P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856 or visit www.mcdonaldcohistory.org. We are open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and as volunteers are available, Sunday afternoon.
Albereta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.