Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Farm In the Valley

There is always a hunger, when you are young, to go from peak to peak and avoid the valleys.
~Peter O'Toole

Valleys.  I often wonder how people who have lived in the plain states their entire existence can possibly appreciate the beauty of the rolling hills and sharp mountain peaks of other landscapes.  I realize there are pictures and the internet so they can conceptualize what these place look like, but nothing can substitute standing on the top of a hill, surveying the depth of the landscape from the truest high point.  The meandering streams, the livestock grazing on the hillsides, the road weaving in and out and through the dale, creating a serpentine path that leads your eye into the distance.  This is something one needs to experience in real time, in real person, not in 2D over the internet or in a picture.  It can be awe inspiring and literally change how you see the world.

I've lived in my home about 10 years now and just the other day I happened to be at a neighbor's house who lives on the highest point around here.  I've been there several times, however, it usually has been in the dark or I've met him somewhere further down on his property to chat.  Until the other day, I had never really had the opportunity to stand at the top of the crest where his home sits and take in the view from there.  I was shocked at how differently I saw my neighborhood.  The perspective was amazing.  I live on the side of a hill, lower than many of the houses around me, and while it is beautiful, I don't have the opportunity to see over the trees and survey the miles around me on a daily basis.  So, being able to look for miles in a complete circle gave new perspective to the scenery I see every day and it was beautiful.

Valleys.  As I read the quote above about valleys, I began thinking about how true it is.  It kind of goes along with what I was saying yesterday about vulnerability.  In youth, it seems we try to avoid the low spots in life, the valleys, metaphorically, in our lives.  There is much resistance to trudging through the gorges, surrounded by landscape that obscures your vision and diminishes your hope.  I am no exception.  I've already told you that I am not good at being vulnerable and uncomfortable. But as I have aged, I've gathered a new appreciation for the valleys.  There is beauty in life's valleys, just as there is beauty in earth's valleys.  There are hidden treasures there, nestled into the hills of life that are waiting to be discovered and can only be found by those walking one foot in front of the other through the low times.  I've come to appreciate every phase of life, the natural ups and downs, ebbs and flows of this side of forever.  Lessons are learned, and appreciation for the mountain tops is discovered in those valleys. Besides, spending time in the valleys makes the hilltops that much sweeter and the view from the top that much more beautiful.

This image was taken with my iPhone while riding in the passenger seat through rural southern Pennsylvania. I painted it in CS6 and Painter Essentials 5 and then back in CS6 I added textures and adjustment layers for the final product.  By the way, a reader politely reminded me yesterday that I forgot to post the vintage image from which I started the piece Ticking Bomb.  I double dog promise to post it on Nine Acres Designs on Facebook today!  Sorry for the oversight ;)

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