Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The middle of nowhere
I get teased occasionally about where I’m from. While it’s generally done in good humor, those making the fun are missing the point. It isn’t so much about the physical address; it’s about what places of vast solitude, “just past the end of the earth” offer the human spirit.
Being in the middle of nowhere is about the only place left in the world where you can lose yourself. By that I mean you can spend a day, or days, alone, devoid of modern technology and conveniences, tending tasks another human may never lay eyes on. Learning in the process that you can do it poorly numerous times, or do it well occasionally. It’s your choice and your set of consequences, and yours alone.
Somewhere along the line, you also get beyond all those quick and easy and current thoughts. Then you have to face the deeper thoughts; the ones society works so very hard to ignore or pass over.
Looking in the proverbial mirror at yourself, your dreams, shortcomings, mistakes, and successes with an audience of blue sky and sage brush is beyond eye opening. If you don’t dodge it when you get to those thoughts, you’ll eventually get yourself figured out, and if you keep going, you’ll reach peace with yourself.
God can fill the silence with everything you need to hear. And show you the beauty in yourself and the world around you.
In my current world, like most places, there is cell service, a highway nearby, and so many people always coming and going. There is constantly someone or something telling you how to do things, what to think about an issue, who is right or wrong, and on and on. Should you actually be comfortable in your skin, your thoughts, and your decisions, you’ll make some people some so uncomfortable they’ll label you as arrogant instead of confident. They’ve never been taught the difference.
Beyond that, there are so many people that have never singularly faced the consequences of their actions; someone was always present to validate their mistakes, fix them, or pay them off. There are people, adults, who have never admitted, let along worked through, a poor choice or poorly completed task, and it’s becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
One of the things I miss the most about my childhood home is its ability to eliminate that and create genuine, self-sufficient people of character. Obviously, there is more to it than a geographical location. However, the longer I’m away the more I believe that is a critical factor.
All the modern conveniences I was once excited about come at a price. Sometimes they’re a greatly appreciated asset, and sometimes they create more problems than they’re worth. The same can be said for an overabundance of people.
If you ever get the chance at something located “in the middle of nowhere” I encourage you to go for it. All the limitations and negatives folks go on about can actually be quite freeing and a great path to maturity. You may just lose and find yourself, all at once.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News