The Month of May is always a busy time, and this May was busier than most, as we traveled a couple of weeks ago. I actually wrote this two weeks ago, but have just had a chance to post it now.
My lovely wife and I are homebodies, but as her family is scattered from Massachusetts to South Carolina, we periodically need to meet various family obligations. So for the first time in two years, we spent a night away from home---actually four nights. Our destination was The South Carolina Low Country between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
One of the reasons we don't travel much is that we have many responsibilities here. Leaving overnight forces us to call upon friends and family to watch over our livestock. They don't seem to mind, and are competent at the task, but every time I leave I feel like a new mother leaving her baby for the first time. I fret and worry the whole time.
Another reason is that I believe that my home country is superior to all others and I see no reason to leave it. However, I do understand that many other people feel this way. The peculiar love of ones home countryside was understood so well by Kipling:
God gave all men all earth to love,
But, since our hearts are small
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all;
That, as He watched Creation's birth,
So we, in godlike mood,
May of our love create our earth
And see that it is good.
So one shall Baltic pines content,
As one some Surrey glade,
Or one the palm-grove's droned lament
Before Levuka's Trade.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground-in a fair ground --
Yea, Sussex by the sea!
I rejoice that my own lot has fallen in the middle ground between the Ohio River and Lake Erie.
The final reason I dislike travel is I don't ever feel like I have anything to get away from. When I get tired of my off farm job, I work at home in the garden or cutting wood. By the time I am sick of that, its time to go back to my off-farm job.
We don't need to go to the park, because we have our own park at the back of the farm. My wife and I both enjoy being together for simple things: going to town to buy groceries and beer, or going to buy bedding plants. For a big treat we take a day trip.
When we travel, we try to avoid large Cities. We took The Interstate through West Virginia and western Virginia (near Galax. Then we cut through the heart of North Carolina, through towns such as Yadkinville, Salsbury and Rockwell. The area is interesting to me because there was once a fairly prominent Pennsylvania German presence there.
Here is a great country store we stopped at south of Mount Airy; friendly proproetor and a great selection of Case knives.
The South is not ideal sheep country, and we saw more meat goats than sheep in the Carolinas. However, we did see this nice flock that had some Tunis among them. This was interesting to me, as Tunis were the breed of choice in the South before the Civil War.
I find the Low Country interesting, because it is the natural world there is so foreign to me. None of the tree of plant species are familiar.
The soil is very sandy, and I am somewhat amazed that anything grows.
I appreciate the low country, but would have a hard time adjusting my agrarian skills to survive there. However, I do like the local people. On Sunday morning, I attended early Service at All Saints Anglican on Pawley's Island.
The Parish was extremely warm and hospitable. Like many of the parishes in western Pennsylvania, the folks at All Saints are involved in court cases with the liberal Episcopal Church which is more interested in their real estate than their souls. As this parish was deeded by The King for an Anglican church in 1736, I would like to see it stay in faithful hands. However, like many orthodox in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, they will continue to meet wherever they can, if they lose.
The church had a fine bookstore, and I spent part of the afternoon reading JC Ryle and John Rocyhana, while perched somewhat unsteadily in a Pawley's Island Hammock.
We also spent about 20 minutes at the beach, and both of us had had enough. While the inland low country is foreign to me, it is a place where real people have lived for generations and built lives. I appreciate that it has its own cuisine, crafts, and local culture. By contrast, the beachfront resort areas are what James Kunstler would call capitals of unreality. People are drawn to live there under an illusion that they can escape from labor and live a carefree lifestyle of golf and parties. Even the old people in the beachfront communities dress (and often act) like graying adolescents. There is too much traffic, too much noise, it looks like one restaurant for every 3 people. I cant help but think that if someone believes that Myrtle Beach is getting away from it all, their life is WAY too hectic. Give me my northern agrarian rat race any day.