Several years ago, sharing photos of the rural valley where I live, an acquaintance commented, “It looks…bucolic.”
He meant it as a slur.
He considers himself cosmopolitan, despite living in…Wyoming.
The word bucolic is one I fully embrace, my raison d’etre for moving to Idaho’s mountains fifteen years ago. Having spent most of my life in or near cities, with all their hustle and bustle, and stress, bucolic is the balm that soothes and feeds my soul.
I don’t miss cities.
When I want to experience the wildness of nature, I venture into the forest.
When I seek quiet and solace, I walk bucolic country roads.
There’s so much to see, if one looks.
So much space to think.
Here, tag along, see for yourself. A day in the life, September 21, 2019.
After capturing a nice photo of the adorable calf, my dogs and I continue walking down the road, eventually returning past the pasture with curious cattle on the way back to our car. The calf and bull were waiting and seem sorry to see us go.
Morning walk over, the boys and I return home. I try to get some writing done. Some days that’s easier than others. My desk faces a window looking out onto my field and those of neighbors. I’m often distracted by whitetail deer walking through or raptors flying overhead.
On this day, the distraction is a hawk swooping down off my roof right in front of my office window, diving into the field grass just beyond the yard fence. She quickly spreads her wings again and flies onto my fence rail, a vole or mouse clutched in her talons. I quietly dash for my camera, trying to avoid alerting the dogs who are snoozing nearby; they’ve learned that if I’m taking a photo of something through the window, it’s likely a creature they’ll enjoy scaring away.
The wildful day isn’t over. Late in the afternoon, while we’re all inside, I notice a single quail on the fence rail just beyond the deck.
That’s odd. I see coveys of quail all the time alongside the road leading to my home, dashing crazily about on foot to get out of the way. Rarely do I see them on my lot.
Hoping again to avoid alerting the dogs, I take a photo through the (seriously needs cleaning) sliding-glass door. Then I carefully open the slider just enough to get a clearer photo. This gets the boys’ attention, so I open the door and we all step outside. The quail takes flight, an alarm that prompts nearly a dozen other quail hiding in the field grass just beyond the fence to also take flight and flee. I had no idea they were there. But I should have guessed, since they’re always in a covey. The quail on the fence rail was their lookout.
That night, in the wee hours, I heard some coyotes yipping and barking messages to each other.
So. You tell me: Is “bucolic” really something to disdain or make fun of?
To each their own. I rather like bucolic.
Maybe its synonym – idyllic – better describes the sense of peace I find here most of the time.
Feature photo: autumn cattails along a pasture fence, morning fog lifting.