A year ago I started a new life as a retired person in the foothills of North Carolina. My roots are in these mountains and I guess I always knew I would return here some day. Strong roots hold you tight when you spread your wings in exploration. I knew there was more, and I found it, and now find myself craving less.
Less people. Less conflict. Less drama. Less traffic. Less worry. Less demands. This is mountain life.
I don’t know what it is that pulls us back to familiar places, but the urge can be extremely powerful. There is something very tactile about our roots. The smells, the ground, the feel of a familiar place satisfies some primal need inside of me. I realized long ago that not every person has this pull. It surprised me, but as I got older I began to understand it more.
When I grew up, the land was everything. Your roots, your shelter, your community, your spirituality, your memories, your food – your entire being. We planted a garden and shared that food anytime someone needed it. We came together as families and as a community. We celebrated the small things as much as the big things. We walked more than we rode. We laughed more than we cried. And we leaned on each other in ways a lot of people never experience.
Of course every life is made up of a complex mix of good times and bad times. Our ability to remember more of the good than the bad is a testament to survival and helps us keep the memories alive. The good memories especially. I have a favorite movie – The Trip to Bountiful. Most people have never heard of it even though Geraldine Page was nominated and awarded an Oscar for her portrayal of Mrs. Watts. I have watched it several times and it always brings me to tears. This movie portrays all that I feel about my roots in these mountains.
Part of this retired life is also a quest to document my family genealogy. I want my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren to understand where they come from and the people that paved the way for the life that they have inherited.
I’ll do some blogging here, but I also have a blog on Google Blogger which explains how and why I approach this phase of my life the way that I do. You can pop over and read about my journey by clicking here. I’ll be blogging in both places from time to time, so be sure to check back often to see what I’ve been up to.