My childhood friends have known for a while how much my family and I take trips to our house in Cold Springs, four hours away from where we live in the bustling city of San Francisco. My mom describes it as culture shock whenever we take our trips from the two houses—no matter what time of the year.
Woodland Village is a small neighborhood in a desert region a little farther from Reno, Nevada. The houses are spread upon a wide mass of land, and are generally far apart from each other with spacious backyards and enormous driveways. The atmosphere is quiet, birds flying past throughout the day, and crickets chirping at night. Summertime brings rabbits and hares visiting our yard, digging through the weeds and jumping up fences. The colder days up in the village drop below freezing, while the hot, sticky days reach to a daily temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold Springs being a rural area, my family and I regularly stay home. Unlike the city, Reno snows at least a couple times during Winter, and we build snowmen while shoveling the snow off the driveway. Heavy coats are needed morning and night, and the small dogs wear their sweaters while the big dog enjoys the cold and runs outside. Fall is my mom's favorite season up in Cold Springs, which I've only seen this year because of school overlapping the period. The trees are colored with saturated reds, oranges, and yellows, and our driveway is full of crisp, crunchy leaves. We take bike rides down the roads in the perfect weather, and admire the paved roads lined with the colorful maple trees.
My parents bought the house back before I was born, a good 15 years ago. We've seen neighbors come and go as we make our monthly trips back and forth throughout the years. Although the houses in San Francisco are closer than the ones in Cold Springs, we have grown closer with stronger connections to our neighbors in the village. While we are away from the house, our weeds thrive in the summertime, growing over the limit and crowding our yards. One of our neighbors comes to give our house a little care, while watering the trees in the heat. Every Wednesday, all of the neighbors leave their trash cans in front of their houses, which is such a delightful sight to see when we drive up the street. It brings a feeling of communion that is hard to explain, as my mom thinks it's quite cute.
The quietness of our house in Reno has always served as an escape from the stress and noise of the city, and quarantine has made me appreciate our visits to the house more. It has been quite exciting to feel the change between the two areas, and sit at the kitchen table, writing in the silence and going out in early morning to take pictures of the birds and animals who have just woken up my parents. It's such a joy to have a local park to bring our dogs to, and walk along the empty streets in the summer while the dogs run to the lawn with the sprinklers. It's simple convenience to drive to our local Walmart, and walk the empty aisles and pick up what we need for dinner that night. Times have definitely changed, but our place with relaxation and silence is something I've loved more because of change. Taking the time to appreciate our homes and what makes them special is such a wonderful way to always feel relaxed—even if it's in the busy city that we live in. It's still home.