Want change?  Excitement?  Adventure?  Romance?  Of course you do.  At least you say you do.  But you’re probably happier just to watch it on T.V.  Most of us say we want it, but once we manage to get it, we find it’s not what we really wanted at all.

To say something as simple as:  “I’ll be happy if my husband brings me home flowers,” is actually an impossible statement to make.  Will you really?  You wouldn’t have a single doubt why he brought you flowers out of the blue, for no reason at all?  What if he brought you nauseatingly-scented lilies, which you KNOW you’ve mentioned before that you don’t like?  What if they’re a wee bit wilted, like they were on the clearance rack?  What if he tossed them on the table without a look, instead of offering them to you sweetly with a kiss?

Politicians and lawyers depend on the fact that we are, as a species, brilliantly inconsistent.   This is true primarily because we are, and maybe I am even more than most, comically poor predictors of our own future feelings (thank you Kevin Hogan for making that my new mantra).

Still, when it comes to feelings, it is Proust I thank for making me first realize the power of circumstance.  No, not the power of memory, definitely the power of circumstance.  The very same moment can be, and always is, totally altered by every single other aspect, oftentimes with little matter of how huge or tiny:  Expect a war or economic crises will make it impossible for you to enjoy your anticipated New Year’s Eve celebration?  Doubtful.

But the state of your health, the presence or absence of a friend, the meal or beverages served, your mood, others’ moods, the weather, can totally ruin an otherwise perfect occasion.

So, on to my point.  It’s now nearly six months living in the sticks and despite my mind’s regular buffing, the sheen of country romance is already growing dull.  I know that’s pretty clear from reading the first blog to the latest, so since I have the illusion that I am actually being read, which is the same as being observed, (which of course makes all the difference, look at The Biggest Loser’s success rate!) I feel required to come up with a reason why, after only six months, I can feel the honeymoon period is already passing.

Is it simply that for romance there is a requirement of novelty?

I don’t like that answer, it sounds excessively shallow, and American.  I think I can come up with a better one here in a minute. . .

Take our little country “homestead”:  It’s not as if I like it any less.  Not at all.  Every day I still see something I haven’t seen before; I still marvel at some new plant or insect, or the beauty of some new view I hadn’t noticed.  It’s not that I’m already sick of the work, or as if I am not enthusiastically adding to the honey-do list:  a greenhouse and new flooring top my current demands.  And it’s not that I no longer look forward to my own upcoming projects, like fall tree planting and inventing a dozen new varieties of kim chi to process the excess cabbage sure to soon be overwhelming me all at once.   And it is still everyday a personal satisfaction to look out over our landscape and see we are slowly taming, but not overhauling it; our quaint view everyday suits us a bit better.  That still gives me great satisfaction because the carved out, hyper-planned communities, whether city or suburb will never qualify, to me, as ideal.

Still I have griped about more than a few annoyances and complications out here, in fact I’ve been bitching about them now for weeks, and those are just my issues.  Handy hubby’s got a whole long list of his own:  equipment constantly failing, important deliveries needed to complete a project lost for weeks in transit, flat tires, wrong tools, poor planning, and of course the inevitable Homer Simpson “d’oh!”

Sometimes to gauge whether I am happy in any one set of circumstances I ask myself, “if you won $50,000, or $100,000, or $200,000 or some other decent sum, not enough to change your life totally, but enough that if used wisely could make a huge difference in circumstances, what would you do differently?   Change careers?  Start a business?  Go back to school?  Move?  Consider kids?  Buy a designer wardrobe?”

When I can answer, “What I really want can’t be bought, or produced, or faked, or invented, or even learned, but only FELT,” then I know I’ve got myself on the right path.  I think Master Hogan would choke laughing on that one.

Through my office window I feel the gentle breeze coming up from the little valley, and I smell the rain soaked earth, and see the first traces of yellow and red in the leaves, and I am relieved.  I have no answers at all.  The world and all in it is still a huge, gorgeous mystery.  And feelings are the only way to truly experience that.

Maybe the romance lives not in novelty, but in wonder.  You feel it’s right out there, exactly what you’re looking for, just out your window.  But even when you know it’s there, you still keep looking out for the next want:  today love, tomorrow sex, next week security, this moment happiness, next month purpose.  It makes me think of juggling pins, because once you have managed to catch one, you look up to see there are still many more waiting to drop.

For a long time I have wanted purpose, and out this window is the only place I have ever seen a glimpse of it.  What that means exactly, and how that can be true, and whether it will ever pay the bills, I have absolutely no idea.  Call it inconsistent, unreliable feeling if you will, but I will continue to call it instinct.