This was it! I was finally free of Starlight Shores! Taking in the beautiful nature around me, I breathed in as much of the ample fresh air into my lungs as I possibly could. This was so nice and different! Coming to Hidden Springs was something I should have done long ago.
When I told my parents I wanted to leave Starlight Shores, they were somewhat surprised—it was the first time I’ve talked about actually moving, even though they knew I wasn’t that fond of the big city. When I told them I was moving to the country to farm and to research soil, they were pretty shocked. My parents were both artists and musicians and it was a bit hard for them to imagine that their city-raised boy would want something so old-fashioned.
They tried to talk me out at first, with plenty of arguments, some of which, to be fair, were pretty good. My mother wondered how I’d be without our large family, all by myself. I debunked that argument by explaining that it’s something everyone goes through. After all moving out and living on one’s own is a normal part of adulthood.
My dad argued that working outside would be a difficult lifestyle, especially for someone who knew nothing about farming and tending the soil. But of course I did! I read so many books about all the different methods of farming and of all the different ways to grow a perfect crop. I had enough knowledge to get me started—the rest would come later. After all, people who grew up on farms weren’t born knowing how to farm, right? People learned these things, as would I.
Looking around, I took in my house again. It wasn’t that big, but that was alright. I wasn’t even used to having that much space at all, completely to myself. Growing up in our large family, I always had someone nearby. It was lucky that we all got along so well—otherwise, things would have been awkward.
But of course, I wasn’t here on vacation! I spent most of the money I had on this house because it came with a huge plot of land. I was serious about starting my own farm. Not with cows and sheep—farm animals weren’t something I knew much about, to be honest. I was interested in plants, from common fruits and vegetables to the more rare healing and medicinal plants. I was always interested in using my scientific studies and knowledge to enrich my garden. And now I had the chance to prove to the world, to my parents, and to myself that I could in fact do it!
Heading off to the local store to stock up on plants and seeds, I took in the town. It was so serene and green. Even the cemented roads seemed greener. This was why I came here. It was my first day here and I already felt way calmer than I ever did in Starlight Shores. Hidden Springs was rumored to have something healing in its land and while I wasn’t sick with anything, I thought I could feel that live energy of the earth coursing through me.
At the store, I purchased some seeds and fruits that I thought would work go well together and would require less expertise, considering that all my farming knowledge was theoretical and not hands-on. I knew I probably should have talked to the people near the store, but I was eager to head home and start planting. Who could blame me? I’ve been waiting since childhood to actually start working the soil and my childhood home just wasn’t quite right for that. It was much too industrial and urban for a proper garden.
Without even going indoors, I headed out to the huge yard and began planting the specimen I’ve purchased, the way I’ve read was correct. It didn’t take that long, although, the soil turned out to be harder to make soft, as described in the how-to books and frankly, I wasn’t sure if I actually planted the seeds correctly. I guess only time will show.
Getting up and rubbing off the dirt that clung to my pants, I realized that I had no money left to actually buy any proper fertilizer. How careless of me to forget that! Of course, most of the books I’ve read maintained that in the absence of fertilizer, raw fish could be just as good. It was a good thing that my much more pragmatic cousin has bought me a fishing pole as a parting gift, insisting that since I’d be surrounded by all that nature, I’d get a chance to use it. Grabbing it, I headed out to the small waterfall that I’ve seen from the cab that brought me here. It wasn’t far from my house and looked like the perfect place for fishing enthusiasts.
Upon arriving I discovered that I wasn’t alone at the pond. There was already a young woman there, already fishing. Well, well, my guess was correct—the place was popular with the fishing folks!
Hoping that I won’t disturb her, I threw in the fishing pole in the manner that my cousin has demonstrated for me when giving me her gift. It looked like I’ve done it right. Now I had to wait.
Several hours later, the only thing I’ve managed to reel in was a ghastly looking Medusa-like creature. After putting it into my bag (any catch at all was good right?) I decided to brave my fortune and talk to the young woman, who was still also fishing. It did look like she knew what she was doing.
Approaching her and clearing my throat, I introduced myself “Hi, I’m Simon Meadows. I apologize if I’m intruding on you, but I’ve never been fishing before and only caught this. Can you maybe tell me what I’m doing wrong?”
The girl looked me over, taking in my utter confusion and smiled “Well, what bait did you use?”
I guess my embarrassment showed, since she gave a reassuring smile and asked “You forgot the bait, didn’t you?”
My blushing was followed by a nervous laugh “I’m from Starlight Shores. Yeah, yeah, total city boy. You have no idea how long I’ve waited to get to a place like this and start farming. And now that I actually am, it turns out I’m a total noob!”
Instead of ridiculing me, she gave an understanding smile “So you’re new here! Well, that explains why you look so unfamiliar. I’m actually not from around here also. I used to live in Appaloosa Plains, so, I suppose I’m a bit more familiar with living one with nature. I’m Celeste, by the way. Celeste Lewis. And what you have there is perfectly good sea sludge. But it probably got hooked to you by an accident. Next time you’ll need something to invite the fish in. And maybe make less noise.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you that way” I apologized profusely.
She laughed merrily “That’s quite alright. I wasn’t always the pro fisherwoman myself.”
It had gotten dark and I realized I had to head home.
“Thank you for the advice. I guess not everything one can learn is in the books. It was nice meeting you, Celeste Lewis.”
Heading home, I somehow felt very light. Something about Celeste’s friendly manner put me at ease and made me forget the tension that I didn’t even realize I’ve been feeling since the move. And she had a pretty smile…
Coming to my empty house, I’ve realized that, for the first time in my life, there was no one but me available to make food and that, by now I was quite hungry. Praying that I don’t burn the house down, I got out the ingredients and started to prepare macaroni and cheese. Towards the end, I nearly lost a finger, but managed to prepare an edible dish, which wasn’t quite as good as the one my parents made, but not that bad, nonetheless.
Afterwards, I allowed myself to relax by the fireplace. It’s been a long day and luckily for me, it hasn’t started to rain while I was out gardening or fishing, but now it was pouring cats and dogs! Closing my eyes, I leaned back on the couch and let the fire’s warmth envelop me.
“Whelp” What was that? There was someone outside? In this weather?
I went out on the porch and saw a big white dog, trying to find a hiding place from the rain. He looked to be scared of the thunder.
“Hey doggy” I approached and let the pooch sniff my hand. He looked scared, but allowed me near. “Wow, you must be terrified and hungry. Come in.”
The dog cocked his head to one side surprised but eventually followed me inside. He was dripping wet and the warmth from the fireplace would do him good.
“Here, eat something” I gave him some bacon. Now satisfied that the animal was protected from the weather, I allowed myself to head to bed. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?