Last Sunday evening, Brett and I drove down the mountain and went to see a play.We saw Trip to Bountiful. I saw the movie when it came out 25+ years ago but I didn't remember anything about the story, just that I had liked the movie. It was an interesting experience, seeing the play at this stage of my life. I'm sure I didn't relate to it at all in the same way back when I saw the movie. I was 25ish then, single, living in an apartment, working on my career with a cat for company.
If you are, like me, getting up there in age with grown children and you live now, or have in past, on a farm or a ranch and loved it -- you may be as strongly moved as I was.
The story centers around an elderly woman, living in a small apartment in Houston with her son and daughter-in-law. She is miserable -- confined to a small place with no wide open spaces. She longs to go back and visit the farm where she was raised, married, and raised her son before she dies. Her hometown is called Bountiful - thus the title of the play/movie.
Her daughter-in-law is a city girl through and through. She drinks Coca-Cola, goes to the beauty parlor, and reads the 1950s equivalent of People magazine. She measures success by the number of pretty dresses she owns. She has no understanding or empathy for the old woman who sits up at night in the moonlight dreaming of the sound of birds. The son -- he's trying to keep his wife happy, trying to make a living, trying to forget about life in the country.
The woman sneaks out of the apartment and makes her way "home." On more than one occasion as she makes the journey to Bountiful, she tries to explain the pull of the land; the pull of home; the pull of memories built in that place.
Recently, Brett and I almost made the decision to leave Aspen Meadows and relocate to the central coast. We looked at some property my parents' own and were discussing a purchase. When we were first married, before we bought and built here, living in the Santa Ynez area of California was our dream. It's a beautiful area full of cattle ranches and wineries, midway between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
In the end, we decided to stay where we are. The "logic" reason is that it would be too much money and work to start over; we're just not that young and energetic anymore. But the "heart" reason is that we just can't bear the idea of leaving here.
When we bought Aspen Meadows, it was just a piece of land. A great big meadow with space for our dreams. We built the barn and the house. Then Brett built my arena and put up all the fencing. I planted an orchard and a garden. The kids got rabbits for Christmas that they showed in 4H. The ranch is full of memories from the grave we dug for Little Lorenzo (a miniature donkey) to the weed seedling Camille saved, planted, watered and propped up during storms that turned into a gorgeous pine tree.
Both Brett and I had tears in our eyes at the end of the play. As we walked to the car, we looked at each other and said "we can't ever leave Aspen Meadows."