The southern mountains hold a soul-nutrient for me and for my wife that we required. A magnetic resonance in our bones drew us upstream, finally to reach our source waters in this remote corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. In a deep, creek-carved valley is our 140-year-old farmhouse and mountain land, the home we have been bound for all our lives.
Our first month here, word was that the new folk wouldn’t last a single winter in this remote outpost. But we had felt the presence of the good spirits of this place the moment we stepped through the door. We had discovered the “house with double porches, on a creek” that my young wife dreamed of wistfully more than 40 years ago. Determined and hopeful, we would do whatever it took to know and love this land, and to make our place here. It has not been easy.
The highlands plateau county of Floyd is so sparsely populated it requires but a single traffic light. Fifteen thousand Floydians share a bounty of talents and skills, experience and wisdom. Long-resident and the new-resident citizens alike work together with a common reverence for this place and its rich culture, its present vitality built on hard work of the past.
“Off the beaten path” has worked in our favor. Isolation from the hurried world has fostered a place-aware interdependence and a cautious land ethic that seeks progress within healthy and sustainable limits.
A local eatery tells it well: its window art shows three men—in business suit, tie-dye and overalls—standing together, side by side.
In the clothes that fit us best we honor and celebrate the pace, scale and authenticity of this ancient landscape and its traditions, and we work to sustain and protect what is precious, lest it be lost.
On any given Friday night in Floyd, artisans and musicians, farmers and travelers flatfoot to their own and to the same music on time-worn oak floors. And may it ever be.