Mountain Life – Sperryville, Virginia

We’re back in America. Jess came back six weeks sooner than me, and I spent that time in Europe, working on our book and visiting with family. After a year we find ourselves in a village, with a population of 342 (give or take) according to the 2010 census.

A year ago we left the capital of the United States. In that time we went to 88 cities in 24 countries, circling the world twice. So much change; such diversity and variation in food, culture, environment, people. And now, in a place that’s not even officially a town…just a village.

Nearly every night I sit on the porch and watch the sun set. The same mountains – the same frame – the pool fence on the left, the fire pit in the middle, and the large tree to its right; and yet, never are two nights alike. The sounds, the colors, the light, and the vibrancy of life that sings and whispers and screams into the woods and the wild.

Bonfire at night - Sperryville, Virginia
Bonfire at night – Sperryville, Virginia

I often think how different life is, with so much less commotion. Lee Highway at the bottom of the hill is two lanes winding up the mountain past the historic district of Sperryville, just seven miles away from the Thornton entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Once there were gaps within the valley frequented by mountain folk, paths and mountain trails in time turned into paved roads.

Mountain Path - Shenandoah National Park
Mountain Path – Shenandoah National Park

Even the quietest streets in the District would get more traffic each day. And though there is a store in town, shopping by the standard as we were used to in DC is now at least a 30 minute drive away. You get to understand why these mountains were named Blue Ridge.

Thornton Gap of the Shenandoah Valley of the  Blue Ridge Mountains of the of the Smokey Mountain Range along the Appalachian.
Thornton Gap of the Shenandoah Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the of the Smokey Mountain Range along the Appalachian.

 

wild wheat - Blue Ridge Mountains
wild wheat – Blue Ridge Mountains

 

I often think how life once way, up here in the mountains. When you couldn’t turn night into day simply by switching on the light. When food was grown, pickled, and preserved.

Today we took a drive up Skyline Drive, not because we had to be anywhere, but because we didn’t have to be anywhere. We no longer run by the schedules of 9 – 5. We don’t stand in lines; fast food takes about 10 minutes. Street lights don’t illuminate the streets – we’re guided by the light of the moon and the bonfire at night. And as people drive by at 20 mph, they wave to one another.

This is America – an older, truer America. This is a bohemian America.

Without the distractions of social norms you start noticing the little things. Not the nuances of algorithms or rapid development life cycles – somehow we’ve taken back our time, away from the concept of wage and closer to the fact of living.

As my heart rate has slowed, my pace less hurried, the time now spent in creative sustainability rather than rat race survival, I’ve decided to look now into the details. Let others enjoy the gardens that grow wild upon the moon.

Natural architects - instinct, not intellect
Natural architects – instinct, not intellect

 

Stink Bugs -  accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have hitched a ride as a stowaway in packing crates. Now devouring everything.
Stink Bugs – accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have hitched a ride as a stowaway in packing crates. Now devouring everything.

 

Moth on a Leaf - or 2 minutes of slow movement
Moth on a Leaf – or 2 minutes of slow movement

 

Butterflies enjoying the tilled soil from my toil of creating "Pebble Beach"
Butterflies enjoying the tilled soil from my toil of creating “Pebble Beach”

 

A bug in a flower - now we are familiar
A bug in a flower – now we are familiar

We spent so much time moving about the world. Now, we meditate.

moss on rock - Shenandoah National Park
moss on rock – Shenandoah National Park

Let the woods count the time…

 

Time - James Watson
Time – James Watson

I suppose while I’m here, I might as well chronicle. More about Sperryville as a place to visit.

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