Quite life can make a difference

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Commentary by Theresa Swope

In my life as a working, single mother, I scarcely have time to breathe sometimes. But a chance encounter with a man from New Jersey driving a horse-drawn, covered wagon, I found a breath of fresh air that awakened me to the blessings that surround me.

Herman Luis left the hectic life of a New York graphic designer and took to the open road, taking a cross-county trek that has introduced him to a variety of people and places, and has given him a feeling of peace most people have forgotten exists.

Though I didn’t move from some great metropolis, I did leave a fast-growing college town for the peace and quiet of the country life in Plantersville. I have already seen a difference in my two boys, both of whom seem calmer and happier since we took up residence in the small house on the rural road, with cows for neighbors.

I have heard a lot of people comment on my hour-long drive to and from work, and yes, there are many days I am tired and wonder if it is worth it. But then I pass the fields of cotton and hay. I drive by pastures of horses and cows, and the serenity of it all causes me to take deeper and slower breaths.

I find myself smiling, even on the worst days, and it takes me back to a time when I was a girl playing with my cousins on the family farm.

I milked cows and gathered eggs – at least I tried. The first time I did so, my cousins thought it was funny to leave out the fact that you are supposed to get eggs from the empty nests.

I have ridden horses, and even a cow or two, and I have worked in the garden to harvest food for dinner.

I have run free in the pastures and daringly climbed trees. And now, hopefully, my boys will get that chance.

Talking with Mr. Luis reminded me of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful, peaceful area, and how fortunate I am to have two wonderful boys to share that peace with.

I’m blessed to be surrounded by my family and the new friends I have made since moving here, and I am blessed to have met a person who reminded me that we should never take these things for granted.

So next time you’re driving to Eutaw, or Linden, or anywhere, look at the green grass and the tall trees. Look at the placid cows and the majestic horses, and take time to smell the roses.

For, as Mr. Luis so exquisitely put it, “It’s not how long you live, it’s how well you live.”

Mr. Luis seems to be living quite well.

Theresa Swope is news editor for The Times. Contact her via e-mail at news@demopolistimes.com.