Back to the Future - Intro

Welcome to a new blog focused on the future, which we are all creating every day with the thousands of decisions we make, both large and small.

            First things first—let me introduce myself.  I grew up in the Fairview community south of Galax and attended Galax High School.  Then I went off to college, as many of our young people do, and just never came back except to visit, finding work, spouse, and opportunities elsewhere.  But when I retired last year from a stressful job, strange things began to happen as I had time to relax, remember, and just “be.”  I thought about my parents and grandparents and the way they lived.  I remembered the vegetable garden, the henhouse, the milk cow, the compost pile (although we didn’t call it that).  I thought of my mother sewing our clothes, darning socks, drying and freezing apples from our own trees, and cooking everything from scratch.  And I realized how relevant those skills are to the challenges we are facing today. 

     I’m passionate about nature and maintaining the intricate relationships between sun, soil and water that all life depends on.  The more I read about solutions to some of our current dilemmas—loss of topsoil, toxic chemicals in our food and water, increasing consumption but declining employment—the more I see connections to values and practices of the past.  That is why I have borrowed the movie title “Back to the Future.”  I want to explore the rich traditions of the Blue Ridge and how they are being revived, sometimes in new forms, to help this area not only survive difficult economic times but thrive, building a community that can provide for itself and a sense of neighborliness that makes life more enjoyable and more secure.

            I can hear you asking, “How can this woman just waltz back to the mountains after all these years and tell us anything we didn’t already know??”  That’s a fair question.  Fortunately, we won’t be relying on the little that I know!  The Twin Counties have a wealth of talent, innovation, and tradition, and I’ve already met dozens of people who are working on different aspects of a positive future.  I’ll just be the “baler” to bring it together and get the conversation going. 

            There is one service I can provide as a recent returnee from the big city—I don’t take things for granted that you may.  Have you noticed that when friends come to visit, you take them to places—restaurants, concerts, museums – that you never go to yourself?  My Ohio friends were impressed and envious that I saw a world-renowned Celtic fiddler perform at the Rex Theater for an entrance fee of $15.  I got there in three minutes and parked a block away, for free.  That never happens in a big city!  And yet there were only a couple dozen people in attendance.  I imagined hundreds of people sitting at home, thinking “There’s nothing to do here!”  I can see the advantages of this beautiful area by contrast with other places I have lived, and I hope to share that joy with you.  I also want to hear from you—the door is open!  Let’s talk.