The West Virginia Mountains
I would never have considered myself a mountain person. I grew up vacationing at the beach; my family had a summer home on the bay and I love the water. More than 10 years ago I crossed the Shenandoah Mountain from Virginia into West Virginia and my soul had a sense of home coming. Later my husband shared that he had that same feeling that Sunday morning. We were looking for an affordable place to farm and West Virginia stole our hearts.
West Virginians are proud of their mountains. Our state motto is “ Montani Semper Leberi” which means “mountaineers are always free.” I know we sometimes have had our name smeared with negative labels such as “hillbilly” and “redneck”, but that is not our true nature. The flip side of that coin is a simple lifestyle, old fashioned values, and a down home wisdom from years of “makin’ do.” Where life is slower, things are sometimes clearer. That’s not to say we don’t live in the modern world of busy schedules and things fighting for priority in our lives. We are still human and fall to the temptations of more is better and the newest thing is the thing to have.
Something happens to me however when I raise my eyes to the mountain tops. As my eyes go up, so my spirit lifts. I am reminded that my life is short and the stuff I accumulate is temporary. My thoughts turn to our creator as I view His magnificent world.
So I thought I would share with others the things I have learned living here in these mountains, from others, from experiences, and from mistakes. Farming here is not what I had imagined. I love John Denver’s songs and we claim his Almost Heaven West Virginia as our own (even though he’s got his geography a bit confused), but I think if I had him here I would shake him silly for singing that line “life on the farm is kinda laid back”.