Today I’m sharing a little snippet of lake life – and something that has been such a source of embarrassment for me!
Being alone in the woods at night has always ranked high on my list of irrational fears – right up there with a Zombie apocalypse and shark attacks in swimming pools.
I never planned to move to the country. I longed for a lake house, but I always imagined living close to a city. Lakefront properties, however, do not often come up for sale around here and, if you remember my Sliding Door series, they are often out of our reach. When this lakehouse came up for sale, we fell in love immediately. It had some flaws to overlook (why would someone build a basement five feet tall?!?), but my biggest concern was its rural location.
We were actually cautioned against moving so far out to the sticks, largely because of the 45-60 minute drive to town. But because we had been living in Ottawa, where rush hour can turn a 10
minute drive into a 45 minute ordeal, we weren’t concerned about the commute. Hubby had grown up in the country, on 80 acres deep in the woods, so the distance worried him even
less. He was more concerned about our measly little acre of land. To him, our new home wasn’t rural enough.
I’ll admit, I was mostly worried about zombies (in the woods – two fears in one!), so I didn’t heed anyone’s advice because their concerns (winter driving conditions/convenience) seemed pedestrian when there were much larger concerns to consider (seriously, why was no one else worried about the zombies?).
Shortly before we moved, we started watching The Walking Dead – which was such a mistake because it scared me senseless. For months after moving here, I wouldn’t set foot outside in the dark alone. If I was in town for the day, I’d tear down the highway after dinner, trying to get inside before the sun went down. If Hubby was out of town for work and I missed that sunset cutoff, I’d crash at my parents’ place in my childhood bedroom. I bought underwear and socks to keep there because this happened so often.
But it turns out that there are scarier things than zombies! Since moving here, I’ve dealt with black bears, getting my truck stuck (and unstuck) in the snow more than once, a frozen well, and some really close calls with moose and deer on the highway. Like, “is that deer fur caught in my grill?” close. Lake life has been an adventure!
Surprisingly, I took to country life like a duck to water. The drive, the distance from everything, the well, the propane tank, the wood chopping, the garbage hauling – all of it feels routine now. Eventually my fears melted away too. I started driving home alone in the dark (although I’d sprint to my door at Olympic speeds). But then I relaxed about that too, and now I putter around at night, taking out the garbage and admiring the stars.
One night Szuka ran away during her evening pee and I took off after her in my nightgown. When I reached the road, I remembered that without street lights and our home’s motion lights, it’s really dark at night! Then I remembered I was in the woods. At night. Alone. At night. Undeterred, I started jogging down the road until I found Szuka, who looked startled, like “oh sh*t, I thought you don’t come out at night”.
Being able to be outside, in the dark and alone, seems ridiculous but that was a huge accomplishment for me. Everything else about lake life was easy to adapt to, so when I finally felt comfortable in the woods at night, the country finally felt like home.
We even started watching The Walking Dead again (we’re all caught up!)
That sounds like a great personal victory! I still wouldn't watch The Walking Dead, though 😉
It sounds ridiculous, but it's been so liberating to have finally gotten over my fears. And for some reason I can watch ANY scary movie or shows now, I am totally desensitized, lol.
Ha ha awesome post! Random question, curious to see what you think of deer whistles on cars for deterring deer? Always wondered if they worked…
I'm not sure if they work, but I have never tried them myself. They were really popular here at one time but not these days, so maybe the marketing was just good? I don't know any rural folks who use them.
Deer whistles? They don't work. My dad invested in several sets back in the 80s and 90s and they broke every time he hit a deer.
Your poor dad! Hope he was okay! That's good to know that they are ineffective. I always wondered too…
Where I grew up, hitting deer was not if but when. My family didn't do it but many would just throw the dead deer in the trunk or truck bed to take home to butcher what was usable. My dad drove a huge Ford LTD station wagon and the deer barely made a dent in that thing. He hit at least 5 a year, sometimes two or three at once. We lived in a very rural area that was predominately farmland (prime feeding grounds) and woodland so deer were EVERYWHERE. Farmers were allowed to harvest them year round on their own land and deer season got us 5 days off school with a free pass to take the rest of the season off.We would see moose in New England and those are no joke! Dad drove much slower when we were in moose country!
Wow, that's so nutty and so relatable. They've started letting people use cross bows in town to hunt deer because the population got so or of control. I've never hit one (knock on wood) and I'm so worried about it.
I love this story. Or rather, I love that I completely understand how it feels. I'm not afraid of zombies (YET!), but I used to live in a different town, and for some reason I always felt … exposed. As if people were currently judging me. This went so far that I prepared a little explanation to use in case people ask me why I got off the bus at a different bus stop, not my usual stop. (Being afraid of zombies sounds totally reasonable in comparison.)Now – or rather, for the last 5 years – I'm living in a different down, and I noticed just last year that I don't feel like I have to explain why I get off the bus at a particular stop. That's when I realised I truly feel at home here. Humans are weird.
Thanks for sharing, Alexandra, that's such an interesting experience. We are weird, aren't we? What must our cats and dogs think of us, lol? I am so happy to hear you feel at home in your new town – feeling at home is such an incredible feeling!
Great story. Thanks for sharing. Big personal victory.
So happy you liked it! I'm trying to get into the habit of sharing something fun/funny or personal every Friday.
So glad you're enjoying all aspects of country living! I'm really keen on moving out to the countryside too, but still hesitate because of distance and, well, ghosts… May get in touch for tips lol!
I'll be happy to share my experiences any time! I will say that something about being in nature has such a calming effect, it seems to override other concerns. The Japanese refer to something called Forest Bathing and it's about how we're meant to live in nature, cities are relatively new to us, and so being in the woods is restorative. I definitely believe that because I was always a city mouse but something about being out here relaxed me so much. I would never move back!
My imagination would run wild out there too. I grew up in the suburbs and when I met my husband and visited his family farm in rural Alberta, I was freaked out walking on the farm at night. My MIL asked if I could go get the eggs from the chickens one night, I was playing it cool not letting anyone sense my fear, I agreed to fetch the eggs. I ran to the coop and dashed inside, felt silly once inside the coop realizing those chickens would do nothing to save me from any zombies…. lol.
I am so relieved to know other adults have these fears too! I love this story, lol 🙂 Well, at the very least those chickens would offer a tasty alternative??
Lol! It's funny how our imaginations can override our rational brain. I grew up rurally and don't really mind going outside at night, even though we, too, are in a wooded area. But I am still vulnerable to irrational fears and will not watch zombie shows- it would definitely infect my brain and make up irrational explanations for any odd shadows or sounds I encountered. I would bring Szuka with me whenever I went outside, just having the company would keep my mind from wandering. But even for more realistic fears like wildlife. I'm not sure about Komondors, specifically, but many large livestock breeds were bred for bear protection. I wouldn't want my dog to tangle with a bear but many animals avoid engaging another animal as it poses great risk of injury to themselves, she would act as a good deterrent.
Yes, Szuka was bred for herd protection. The dreaded Komondor coat acts like armor. These dogs are known to take on wolves. But she's so soft, lol, not sure what she'd do. She runs off and leaves me alone in the dark. But she does make me feel safer.