The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge


By Lisa S. Jordan © 1992

Issue: July-August-September, 1992

I look out through the panes of my kitchen window, from my table where I am sitting, sipping coffee, and thinking about my life. It's a good, moral, one which I have chosen. Some folks would say it is not all that exciting, and sometimes even to me it actually seems quite mundane; however, I am thankful for it.

As I look out this window, I gaze across a narrow graveled country road, over a small field of hay ending abruptly at the bank of a winding creek. A line of tall sycamore trees, their white bark gleaming in the late fall sunshine, stand guard like proud soldiers over the little creek. It's a peaceful scene, on which I often make time to view at leisure.

I sometimes wonder if I actually realize how very blessed I am at having this lovely little panorama at my own "beck and call," as it were. 'How many frustrated city dwellers often long for a source of peace such as this? Yet again, how often do I take this scene for granted?

As I ponder this point, my eyes travel beyond the line of sycamores, up the hillside. Most of the scarlet, orange, and brown leaves have fallen from the trees now and I can see almost halfway up the wooded hill. I often see deer lying along the edge of the woods. Apparently, they are of the mistaken belief that they are well camouflaged, as they almost always stay just behind the tree line. How sure of their security they are; how fearless and free, how trusting and gentle. If only mankind could be the same.

This is our world, my husband's and mine. We have carved out our niche in society here in this little country hollow, alongside this narrow and winding country road. Our roots and memories are deeply buried in the soil of this small rural community. We have friends and family here, and we would not desert them for any high paying job, social status, or any other temptation big city life might have to offer two young individuals such as ourselves.

It is a special kind of people we live among, in our little world. Country people, simple, plainspoken folks who say what they mean and mean what they say. There's no pretense among them, and no need for any. Everyone knows almost everyone else, or at least has heard of them. These are people you can count on, people who are "real."

Sometimes, on a quiet Saturday evening, we hop in our old multi-colored Chevy pick-up and take a drive, just for the fun of it. We do not have a particular destination in mind, but drive over the back roads, seemingly back in time to an even quieter world than our own. A world of huge old barns, falling to the ground, and acre upon acre of rolling fields and wooded hillsides. It's always beautiful, no matter what the weather. It always thrills me, as I try to imagine what life must have been like then. I think of how proud these people of the past must have been of their huge new barn, no doubt built by the love and sweat of their neighbors and themselves. How simple life must have been to them, despite the hardships.

Hardships, that's a word I often ponder. Is that the opposite of convenience? How can our generation ever begin to know the meaning of the word "hardship?" Our world is so convenient, so easy.

If the electricity goes off for an hour, it's a hardship, and we grumble and complain - no television, no lights, what can we do? If the microwave or the washer breaks, what a hardship. We really don't know the meaning of hardship, of getting up on a cold winter morning, bundling up, and making our way outside to the well to draw water, if, that is, it's not frozen. We don't know how easy we really have it, and I wonder, what would our great, great grandparents think of what our world has become? I am sure they would be shocked, and outraged, and given the chance to live again, regardless of the "modern conveniences," I honestly believe they would choose their own era.

But, life goes on, and despite our protests, we cannot change the course of the world, we can only lament it; and cling to our own world in our quiet and peaceful hollow, fighting silently to keep the world at bay and live in peace in our country.