The Homeplace

Do we have the courage to live in this place?  This is the question upon which Devin and I reflect often these days, as we anticipate moving to our farm.  You wonder what I mean, dear reader, because the answer seems obvious.  If we live on a farm in the country, of course we will live in that place, right?

To clarify this for you, I will unpack it in two parts, first, what I mean by “live in this place” and, second, why we need courage for that.  Okay, come, Holy Spirit.

To Live In This Place

When we first decided to move to Georgetown, I assumed that we still largely live in Austin.  I planned to visit friends in Austin, buy my groceries at my favorite HEB in Austin (oh, I am so very very glad to be back in HEB country), and eventually send Edmund to this amazingly fabulous home school co-op in Austin (aah, colloquium–the only thing better is the trivium).

I commenced with my plan as soon as we arrived a few weeks ago, and began to put miles on our car, picking up Austin life just where we left off a few years ago.  Lots of driving.  Too much driving.  The proverbial wall hit me last week, and I Simply Could Not Spend Another Minute In The Car.  That’s just how I said it to Devin, too, with each word a proper noun.  And, I decided at that instant, as cholerics are wont to do, that I was going to live in the same place where I slept at night and stop living in my car.

Because, you see, dear reader, most of us Americans live in our cars, or rather, live in spurts punctuated by car trips.  Our civic engagements, our religious worship, our social intercourse are all mediated by automobile travel, and our homes are the places where we sleep and hang out on the weekends.  Wendell Berry makes this point (with rather more brevity and erudite brilliance than I) in “The Unsettling of America”, wherein he critiques the American habit of turning our homes into places of consumption, leisure, and the production of garbage.  That’s not living.  We don’t really live in our houses.

If Devin and I are to actually live where we sleep, we need to limit our car trips and reduce our options.  That’s not so much the American way, is it?  We will have to give up the arrogance of big city dwellers, who have innumerable options and who are pretty sure that there is not life outside the city, and confine ourselves to the one grocery store in this small town and the one Catholic parish and the one local non-chain coffee shop (how can there only be one coffee shop?).  We will have to accept the people who live around us and invest our energies in this community here.

Country manners? Miss Bingley does NOT find them charming.

Courage

We want to live here, but we have fear.  What if we don’t meet any good friends and drown in boredom out here in the sticks?  We need the fortitude and temperance to modify our habits and settle into small-town life (and, really, y’all should laugh at me because Georgetown has upwards of 45,000 people; this is no “small” town).

Even as I write this, I laugh at myself because our immediate neighbors are a very hip young family who grow heritage seeds in their backyard garden and it turns out that there is a flourishing home school co-op here and, surprise!, people of intelligence and virtue and cosmopolitan good taste live in small towns, too.

4 thoughts on “The Homeplace”

  1. Perhaps as an admitted homebody, I find living in my home much easier. The only miles my van gets are pretty much to get food, go to church, and the (now-much -more) biannual trip to Denver. I can certainly see how living in one’s home could be more of a challenging to a social-lite such as yourself. 😉 This is why I made sure the house we chose would fulfill our needs (and it does so in abundance). As far as my other dreams go (a very nearby FSSP parish, a homeschool co-op, a convent, etc.), they will just have to come to me. And it is for that for which I pray.

    In the meantime, Katie, you’re posting on the wrong blog. 😉 I have a new host of friends to introduce to IFTBAG, just waiting for a new post.

  2. yes but your friends in austin want to see you!!! i knew it was going to be such a tease to have you move back kind-of close, but not really close enough to hang out all the time. but i certainly understand not wanting to drive on 35 everyday! ugh.

  3. You’re going to love your parish and the people in your local homeschooling community, once you get to know them. I’m certain of it. And with several kids and some land to work/play on, I honestly don’t think you’ll have to worry about being bored! Welcome back to Texas.

  4. Oh, we’re in the midst of deciding this very issue! Steven would love to be out in the country or at least farther from town, and I definitely like the “idea” of it. I would love for the kids to have wide open spaces to play, and to have more quiet and peace in our lives.

    But I am such a social gal, and so are my children, and we are happy in our small parish and homeschool group, and ballet academy. I don’t think I can do it, especially now that the kids are older and we just moved them to a new city last year, too. I struggle as it is with living here away from family and life-long friends. Lots to pray about.

    This is probably a great time for you guys to settle, before the kids are school-aged. It’s such a hard decision though, wanting to give kids the best opportunities, but also realizing that the best we can give them is a happy, balanced family life. Hope that things all come together for your new life back in Texas! Welcome home!

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