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Friday, April 3, 2009

I often post about the mountains and the people who lived there, blazing the trail for us to enjoy generations later. I don't normally focus on what it meant to blaze that trail since I am overwhelmed with the beauty they left behind.

This particular photo has a bit darker feeling with more of a foreboding sense about it. I purposely presented it in this way to remind myself that along with the serenity, the independence and beauty of this lifestyle decades ago...there were also a palpable hardships as well. How many of us reading the blog would have the drive to dig out the sandstone from a nearby mountain stream, transport the stones up and over mountains many times, and then lay each individual stone in order to build a fireplace to stay warm and survive the harsh winters? There are stories of holes in the floors big enough to let rattlers or water moccasins find their way into your straw filled mattress while you sleep. Each log is cut, transported and hand sculptured to fit, locked to the others because nails were a luxury in those days. Education was far down on the list of priorities, only after the grains were harvested and meat was butchered for the family.

However, this makes the experience of reliving these historic journeys even more fascinating...knowing the sacrifices our now distant relatives gladly took upon themselves in order to make a difference in their lives....and then by default, ours as well.

12 comments:

Heather said...

We are so spoiled, aren't we? I can't imagine the difficulty of life back then, yet they seemed to manage with such grace. Loved this post - it's a wonderful reminder of how cushy our lives are now, in comparison. And it makes the beauty of what they left behind even more significant and awe-inspiring.

Dan Felstead said...

Heather,
Thanks for the comment. I know that many times I visit a place like this and don't take the time to think about how it got there, what was the reason someone settled there. My photos and narratives are often therapeutic for me...helps me rethink these things but after the fact many times.

boneman said...

well, I reckon I come close to it, today.
I haul wood trunks onto the truck, drive them home and chop and split them for heat.
If I had my druthers, it would be a ranch style home (most were back then) and that would be easier to heat/cool, maintain.
For Steve's Mom (who feeds us lunch after church every Sunday) I hauled up creek bed stones for her walkway.
Then again, I can't get anyone to go canoeing down Sugar Creek with me anymore because the last time I went, I had gathered some two hundred pounds of rocks and stones.
Yeah...not that they were of serious use. More tat they were cool looking.

Dan Felstead said...

Boneman,
I've known people in the past who have literally built their own homes...they are certainly a special breed. I wish I had that drive.

Dan

Dani said...

Wonderful thoughts, Dan. Thanks for this- too much today we take for granted!

Dan Felstead said...

Dani,
Sometimes I fear that we are being taken back to a time when we will learn to appreciate what we have (or had) today.

boneman said...

I heard of a guy who built his own wood cabin over the course of a summer.

Dang! It's enough to remind me a pioneer I ain't.
(he could afford some of the essentials, I believe)

shabby girl said...

That's quite a sobering thought, isn't it? I think our generation could fathom doing it, but I think it would be much harder for the younger folk. But if it actually came down to a very real necessity, however you envision that, I believe we could all do it. And would do it.
I love the picture!

Lynda Lehmann said...

Great treatment of your photo, Dan, and a thoughtful post. We do have a lot to be grateful for, including the striving and struggles of our ancestors.

Dan Felstead said...

Boneman,

I truly admire the folks who can do that...I guess if you know what you are doing...you can save some money and end with something you can be proud of....hopefully!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Shabbygirl...

I agree...it is just that as American, we really haven't been challenged in quite a while. I think our chance may come soon.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Lynda,
I have traveled all over the US but for some reason, I have not made it up northeast. I would like to see the history up there as well. Much of the original US began around New Amsterdam!

Dan