Friday, February 25, 2011

Heather Miles
Response Paper One
Love of Land
February 9, 2010

I walk out on the front porch of my mom and dad’s house and all I see is the neighboring farm land, cows grazing in the field, the surrounding trees and woods that shield the land we live on. I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance and I can see my grandparents limestone house that was build in 1730. I can feel the cool breeze that flows from the mountains to the valley and I can smell the fresh cut grass. Life is good because it is quiet and I am free to roam, with space to spread out and be me. There is a huge oak tree sitting out front with a long rope tire swing attached to it. I love to swing on the tire. I feel free and safe swinging back and forth in the cool spring wind. I can run and scream and squeal with my sisters knowing that it is safe to do so.
I grew up with nature. My life was lived outdoors and the only time I came into the house was when my mother threatened to come out after me. I grew up with 400 acres of land. My grandpa, aka- paw-paw Bo, owns all the land. The land has been in his family for 8 generations. I would be the 10th generation. Land is very important to my family. “Land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts." (Gone with the Wind). That quote is what I have been raised on.
I want to try to explain how much land means to me, first, I am a southern farm girl. I was born and raised in the south. Us southerners have a pride for our possessions that is hard to explain, but the quote I used above explains that pride in better words then I could. Nature and my land go hand in hand. It is where I hid from my mom and dad when I was little and did something wrong. It is where I escaped to when I needed time alone. It was where I played civil war with my sisters. The land I grew up on means a lot to me.
I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, the James River and the Potomac River. I grew up with fresh spring water from my paw-paw’s water supply which is a medium sized waterfall that is on his property. I used to play in the water when I was little and when I got married we took tons of pictures over at the creek where the waterfall is. I grew up taking trips up to the mountains with friends and family. I also grew up with outside bbq’s with family and church family. My family hunts, so in the fall and winter someone is always out hunting. My dad always taught us that we use as much as we can of the animal we kill. We do not waste. Many times when we were financially unable to buy food my dad hunted to provide us with meat and planted a garden and canned for the winter. He never wasted. He gave away what he wasn’t going to use so that he never wasted the things that the land provided for us.
There was a time in my adolescents where I hated being around my parents. The woods behind my house provided a safe place to be alone and think. Even now when I go home I love to go walk in the woods and just experience Gods creation. The trees provide a beautiful wall that allows no outside noises in. Because I live in the country, I have a profound respect of the quietness it provides. The city is so different when it’s sounds and loudness. The woods at home were always so quiet minus the sounds of pure nature.
People don’t seem to understand how important country life is. It seems like the whole world is on an Urbanization kick. The country provides so much more for the soul that a city cannot. Quiet, peace, relationship and respect for the land and ownership of something more than just material. It’s living, breathing and producing. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. People’s views are blurred. No one wants to work the land to get it to do what it was meant to do, provide for people. I think people view land and something to build concrete buildings on and it is not meant for that. I think land is meant to be cared for and loved. I feel like if the government paid the farmers and the people more to work the land that we have that the world would be a better place and the United States could go back to being producers instead of consumers.
Leopold makes a valid point that people need to have land ethics. He talks about the Mississippi Valley and what if people took lessons from the Natives there. The Native Americans had land ethics and I think we could still change as a world if we took note of how natives treated their land.