People , there’s a reason the song doesn’t go “Almost Heaven, West Baltimore”, and yep, today was one of those days. I have spent every single one of my nearly 50 years, living in the Baltimore area..for you folks not from these parts, that’s Baltimore, MD, USA. Right, right,,home of The Wire and Homicide, Life on the Streets. (Now, before my friends circle my home with torches ablaze for my disloyalty to dear ole “Bawlmer”, I would like to officially state that anything I am about to write should not be held against me, and I will claim temporary insanity in a courtroom if need be.) I grew up in a little row home here, in a neighborhood of cement porches, neighbors sitting outside on their stoops, yelling their “hey hons” back and forth, sounds of Colts football and O’s baseball coming from TVs drifting back and forth across the street , blue collar Dads and hardworking Moms..I loved it all and wouldn’t trade a single day of it for any other childhood. We were free range kids, feral really, like most kids of the 60’s and 70’s, be they city or country mice. Played outside all day, came home when it got to dark to see the ball, or our parents just couldn’t take the deafening noise of 15 kids playing under the living room window, and made everyone leave…we lived in the “end” row home..thus making our yard the destination of choice..poor Dad, he just wanted to grow grass. Fast forward 45 years..I live one town over from my hometown in a wonderful little town with history and an eclectic mix of homes and people. It is a place bursting with tradition and community pride, no regrets either of our choice to settle here, where our kids can walk to school, the library, the post office..you get it, it’s Smalltown, USA. It’s a good thing. But..here comes my secret..never before uttered in public..please keep this to yourselves…I am tired of it. Maybe it was that crystal clear mountain lake last Fall that I didn’t want to ever leave..or the road rage I experienced today where a man nearly ran me down in my work parking lot and when I asked him to slow down he unleashed hell on me using the “f” word about 40 times and making me wish he had run me over so I wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore…or maybe it’s the mother flippin’, butt ugly, 8 foot white plastic fence my neighbor just erected 20 feet from my backdoor, that has me wanting to burn black rubber out of here, Thelma and Louise style..only my husband would be playing the role of Thelma, or Louise, oh, it doesn’t matter, you get the picture. I want to be with nature. I want weeds, not these manicured golf course lawns doused in chemicals. I want bugs. I want to see deer out my window, munching away on the vegetables that I would probably not stop them from eating. I want to see BIG SKY. Sunrises and sunsets. I want my Labs to run like the wind and dive into ponds and lakes. I had a most sobering moment recently, excuse me while I grab a tissue, during a weekend getaway to West Virginia with my sons. We stood on the river’s edge and there they struggled to skip stones, again and again. It made me realize that more than anything, I want them to live a more natural life. A life that isn’t constantly surrounded by adult supervision and participation trophies…(a blog for another day).