Bamboo Fly Rods, Blue Ridge and the Five Year Itch

Bamboo Fly Rods and the Five-Year Itch

Five Years.

Five years ago today, we moved to the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Within the confines of my family…much has changed (we moved, relocated our bamboo fly rod shop downtown Blue Ridge, Veronica was born, Cutter “grew up”, we built a new building on Main Street…oh, and we got old ushered in our 4th decade of life.

Many move to an environment like Blue Ridge pursuing a dream of some sort.  We were no different more realistic.

The honeymoon was over before it began…really…the economy crashed while at the closing table for the loan on our new home/workshop (literally…we were watching the news and Lehman Brothers fell that morning).  Can anyone say “top dollar”?  We were working so hard that Bill did not even have time to enjoy the trout fishing out our back door that lured us here initially and the much coveted “privacy” we desired turned into an annoying self-inflicted sort of seclusion that was surprisingly annoying.

However, two very important things grew in spite of any hindrance:  1.  The ridiculous amount of love that our family has for one another (insert sophomoric and banal sigh here) and 2.  Our little bamboo fly rod making business not only grew during this time but it evolved and thrived.

I can not possibly chronicle all of the discrepancies between our former life in the suburbs of Atlanta and our new found place in the world.  So, while I am being honest inspired, here are a few highlights for your (and mine) amusement.

1.  HIGH HEELS LOOK RIDICULOUS!  I don’t care how well you walk in heels or how important it is to look “polished” and to add “height”.  If you are in Blue Ridge for more than a few hours, you will spend a significant amount of time in DIRT and GRAVEL.  High heels are not “hot” in dirt and gravel.  

Flat boots…preferred footwear.
2.  “One-upsmanship” is no longer related to the size of your house or amount of luxury cars you own. “One-upsmanship” in Blue Ridge is about the size of the bear on your front porch and the number of scorpions you wrangle in your home.  True.
3.  Strength is far more attractive than Skinny.
4.   Charity is about helping your neighbor not a marketing effort.  Please note that this does not diminish larger charitable efforts…it’s just that here…charity really does start at home.
5.  Organic meat is not bought at Whole Foods…it brought to you in a zip lock mere hours after the hunt.
6.  Shotguns (not handbags or diamonds) are the ultimate status symbol.  
Clutching my shotgun…not handbag.
7.  Garages are our sheds (clean cars are an eyesore), tractors are our lawn mowers, trails are our sidewalks, meadows are our lawns, fireflies are our light posts, mountainsides are our driveways and the neighborhood pool is Lake Blue Ridge.

8.  When meeting others for the first time and they ask, “What do you do?”… they are not asking “What do you do for a living”…normally, they are actually curious about “What you do” in terms of “Who you are”…not your perceived socioeconomic status.
9.  Our Movie Megaplex is an actual Drive-In Theater from the 1950s.  Don’t feel bad for us…we have first run films and the concession stand has funnel cakes.  When we were traveling and took Veronica to a traditional theater, she yelled, “INSIDE?!? Are we going to see a movie inside?  INSIDE?!?  Thank you!  This is going to be so much fun!”
10.  A beard is a must…oh wait…Bill has always had a beard in the winter.  I guess manliness transcends all geographic areas. 
Roni taking care of her father’s manly beard.

Naturally, I get asked if I miss anything about my more formal surroundings on a regular basis.  For example…

Q:  Don’t you miss having everything at your fingertips?
A:  No, my definition of “everything” has changed.
Q:  Don’t you miss being “informed”?
A:  Huh?
Q:  Don’t you miss the mall?
A:  No, the lights always made me nauseous.  I spent way too much money there.
Q:  Don’t you miss…
A:  No.

My new mall…downtown Blue Ridge.
If pressed, I am sure I could make a list of what I do miss…like access to a great haircut and Ikea.

For me, the most distinguishable difference between my two microcosms is the   insert overused word here“authentic” approach to life that is woven into our daily rhythm.   People, places and things…”more real”.   So, by default (or even on purpose), you become “more real”…more connected…more present and (best of all)…your actions require less effort. *see footnote below*

*footnote* It’s important to note that authenticity has a dark side.  Living in the mountains has not insulated us from the world’s lunacy.  In fact, without the pressing nature of the exhaustive suburban “civilized” life, people are less inhibited and respectable behavior is underrated. Don’t ask.

So,  organically…through the years, we have found a home here.  Our “home” does not consist of four walls but of an intense connection to everything around us…from our own family and trade to our relationships and nature at large.

Five Years…no itch…yet.

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