“I was going along a dusty highroad
when the mountain
across the way
turned to me its silence…”
– A.R. Ammons
The usual deep-thinkus we peddle around here has been curtailed, these last several days, by inter-state moving. Ripping up your home from here and going way off and putting it down there, of all the ways to travel, may be the least attractive, short of forced marches under a slave-master’s bullwhip. Although, actually, it was partially due to slavery that Elena and I have hied us out here to Olde Virginie.
We moved away mostly because Elena had ended up with a daily two hour Beltway Rush Hour Hell Commute back-and-forth, not to mention the rising price of gas, on top of which EZPass automatic tolls were adding three figures more of debt to our monthly finances. …Because, yes, dear friends, every blessed day the state of Maryland made her buy the highway she was inching along, dying inside. That’s how a rank whiff of involuntary servitude began to creep into the picture.
On the day we and the men loaded up their moving van, Drudge, cable-TV, and USA Today were reporting this big new East Coast demographic trend: a tax exodus — families are exiting Maryland and settling in Virginia in numbers so damning, State coffers are already $1.3 billion shallower. Tant pis.
“Free State” Blue gluttony for its citizens’ cash has had to do with us coming here, but it is enough now that we have arrived safely and together before our Blue Ridge mountains view across the Shenandoah Valley. For what it’s worth, I feel at home. During the previous millennium, I took my degree from Mr. Jefferson’s University in Charlottesville and have fancied myself a little bit Virginian ever since.
Our first night here at Ace Court, she and I ducked outside to “taste the air,” a pleasant custom we often share before heading upstairs to bed. We fell into a summer night made the way they’re supposed to be. So we just stood there, happy on our dark unfamiliar porch, enjoying being grateful bodies breathing cool aromas off a sly breeze after a 104 degree day.
“Haven’t seen so many stars since we waded ashore in Barbados, that first night, remember?”
We stood side-by-side, as always, enjoying that odd but pleasant phenomenon: the near quiet from far mountains.