Movin’ On

Dense patches of fog line Virginia Route 758 this morning as I begin the 18-mile drive from the farm to our studio in Floyd.

It’s that way most mornings. Sometimes, the drive can take most of an hour because I stop along the way to take pictures or just admire the beauty of nature.

Since returning to the Blue Ridge Mountains earlier this year, we’ve found the intoxication of country living too much to resist. At first we thought we would alternate between the farm life in Floyd County and the urban sprawl of Arlington County.

But the 300-mile commutes got old fast. In June, we came down with no plans to return to Arlington until after Labor Day.

Morning fog in Floyd County<br>Photo by Doug Thompson

Morning fog in Floyd County
Photo by Doug Thompson

In September, we return to the Washington area but not to stay. We will clean out our home there and put it on the market. Then we will start building our dream home on 105 acres of land in Carroll County.

Long past time for a change. Long overdue. The urban life no longer appeals. The hustle and bustle of politics bores. So do those who lie and die by the political sword.

Politics is a one-dimensional world, dominated by extremists. Extremists live to hate. Increasingly, those who follow these zealots are shallow lemmings who lack both the will and the capacity to think for themselves. Anger drives them and they are controlled not by love of country but adherence to party dogma.

The Rant was born out of such anger – anger at the system, anger with the status quo, anger at the absence of truth in the corridors of power in Washington.

The Rant thrived because life in Washington fueled that anger.

No longer.

Life in the country tempers anger. One cannot stop and gaze at the beauty of fog hanging on a mountaintop on a crisp August morning and feel anger. Anger doesn’t work here. It has no place.

Since moving to the mountains, I’ve written 14 columns, an average of just two a month. Each less angry than the last. Without anger, one cannot rant so The Rant – like the anger that drove it – must disappear into the morning fog.

Life is too fleeting to waste by getting mad or expending energy on hate. I owe what little time I have left on this earth to the woman I love and the peaceful quality of life we have found here in the mountains.

On most days, you can find us in a small studio tucked away in one corner of a converted dairy barn perched on top of a hill right outside a town of just 435 residents. We spend our days cataloging 40 years of photography, working on a documentary about America, mentoring young photographers through the National Press Photographers Association mentor program, printing high-quality digital archival prints for other photographers and artists in the area, designing a web site or two and preparing to teach a class in photography early next year.

On some days, I might not leave the studio until late at night but the 18-mile drive home is pleasant and leisurely and I probably won’t see another car on the road along the way.

And, along the way, I find that I really don’t care what George W. Bush has done, what John Kerry has charged and who said what on Meet the Press.

So it’s time to take a break. How long that break will be is anyone’s guess.

I sure as hell don’t know.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Doug can be found at his new home at Blue Ridge Creative or writing in his blog at FloydCounty.Com.)