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Saturday, January 14, 2006

I haven't lived in Virginia long - eight months to be exact. I moved here from California. We'd talked about moving for at least two years, but I don't think anyone really took us seriously - including, at times, ourselves. Then one day it happened. It was just that time. It was like watching a race in slow motion and speeding up the tape just as the finish line comes into sight. it tends to catch you off guard. Two years of research culminated in a far too surreal decision. We're going to Lynchburg. I quit my job, we packed up our belonging, we piled the kids into the van, and we drove. We drove for about a week. And when we arrived here it was raining.

People ask, "Why? Why Viginia? Why Lynchburg? Why would you leave California to come here? Isn't California weather great? Aren't there better paying jobs? Isn't there a lot to do? Isn't it exciting out west?" Well, I suppose the answers would be yes, yes, yes, and it depends what excites you. But that's not the point. The point is that there is a certain substance seriously lacking in California culture that I hoped we could reclaim in Virginia. I think that substance might best be described in two simple concepts: trees and clouds.

Trees and clouds? Are you kidding me? Doesn't California have trees and clouds? Well, of course it does, but not like here. Trees and clouds? Isn't that a little simplistic? Well, simplistic, no; simple, yes. And that's the point.

There are many reasons we moved. I could say that homes are outrageously expensive in California while quite a bit more affordable in Lynchburg. I could say that Virginia has a much more interesting history. I could say that California is dominated by liberal agendas in politics while Virginia maybe not be quite as much. But regardless of the form it takes, the fact of the matter remains that California is not a state where I want my children to grow up, and Virginia has the trees and the clouds.

Trees and clouds symbolize the simple life - the life left over when the hustle and bustle is through. It represents the clean and the green, the slow and the grow. it represents the beauty of the countryside and the profound power of the tumultuous skies. It means enjoying what's God's given. It means family. It means work. It means satisfaction with what's authentic. I think the weather here in Lynchburg is anything but mundane. It's fascinating. The hills and the forests and the skyline is worthy of a postcard. I've met many good, hard working, people. I have witnessed a sense of heritage. California, on the other hand, despite all her attempts to preserve the things of the earth, has in reality squandered at the hands of so-called progress the very meaning behind the things she tries to preserve. She has squandered the trees and the clouds. She has forsaken the concept of simplicity that I hope Virginia, with God's help, remembers to maintain.

When we moved here I etched in my mind a little reminder: I didn't expect our new life to be easier, but rather, I expected it to be better. This is the road which I think Virginia has historically taken. I just hope it doesn't become another California.


At 1:48 PM, Blogger B O B said...

CT we welcome you to Lynchburg and to our blog. And I enjoyed reading your post with great interest. Thanks for bringing your perspect.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

CT, great post and welcome to Lynchburg! My husband has worked in California on several long term contracts and many a time he moaned about the brown grass and the cloudless skies (along with other things you mentioned). He told me how funny it was to watch the weather forecast and have the weatherman giving warnings and there would be one little speck of rain on the radar.

I look forward to reading more of your posts!

At 9:04 PM, Blogger C.T. said...

Thanks, Melissa. Your husband's assessment of CA sounds dead on.

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

C.T., Having said all of that about the rain and environment in CA, we do love CA. We have enjoyed several trips to San Francisco and Tahoe and Sacramento and one trip to the Napa Valley.


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