Rambling Feet And A Rambling Mind

This is me on the Appalachian Trail about thirty years ago. Check out those socks! I still ramble around, but I wear better socks these days!

Youth condemns. Maturity condones. ~Amy Lowell

I am embarrassed to admit that maturity of mind and spirit has been a long time coming for me. I fear that had I never moved away from where I grew up that I may not have ever reached a full appreciation and respect for a place and the people who gave me roots to call home and morals to guide me along my journey. Maybe, I owe my heart and soul to Southern hospitality.

I moved away thinking the world had bigger and better things waiting for me. And now I find the most important things are right where I left them. Maybe I thought somehow I’d become sophisticated by letting go of my country upbringing…that gives me a laugh now! I’ve found sophistication isn’t bought in stores or handed down like antiques and jewels. I’ve found that class doesn’t come in a brand name nor does a name give you a brand. I say this because there are many who were fortunate to have a respectable name passed down to them, but do not honor it. Class is born and bred. Class comes from grace and ethics, or simply from living well. I am fortunate to come from a place and from people that practice love, respect, and honesty. And in all honesty, it took me getting out in the world to realize how much I appreciate these values.

I have found that there are too many complacent people in this world. They just don’t care. I’ve been raised to stand up for what I believe in. The problem is that so many people have no idea what they believe in. I would much rather associate with someone passionate about their beliefs even if they differ from mine than someone who has no belief system. The people that I have found to be complacent are self absorbed. They’re people who care more about what the world can give them rather than what they have to offer to those around them. It’s better to stand for something than nothing at all. It shows you care about the world around you.

I’ve always had a wandering soul with a penchant for home. While I have made my home in another part of the state. I find that the part I come from holds some of the most natural beauty I’ve ever seen. I’ve always loved nature. I hiked when I was young. However, I don’t think I really breathed in the sacredness of it all. I think it has taken me getting away from it and being reintroduced to really grasp the concept of how fortunate I am.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with relatives I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was overwhelmed by the fragility of life. It comes and goes so quickly. I was saddened to see how the health of some has declined and age has taken it’s toll on others. Regardless of relationships or differences of opinions or philosophies of life, these people are the backbone of my life. These are the people who helped form my first impressions of the world around me. We have all drifted through time to wherever our lives have taken us.

I am privileged to have grown up with a sense of community. Or course, I didn’t realize it at the time. I just thought everyone was in everyone else’s business. Maybe a sense of community is a  part of small town living. I know that living in a city, I only feel a sense of community in my own neighborhood or in certain organizations. I always thought I could never return to live where I grew up. I thought I’d never be accepted back into the fold. I see now that was just my perception. I’ve learned that community is much like family. They are a support team. And our lives are richer for the involvement.

Through my journey over a track of the Appalachian Trail, I reflected on where time has taken me in relationship to places and people. They have taught me a lot throughout my life. I have no regrets about where my life is now, and I truly believe that had I not gone off I would have taken both the place and the people for granted. It has taken a degree of separation in time and distance to fully grasp an appreciation for all that has been a part of my life. I think age has definitely given me a clearer perception. I am sincerely grateful to have come from such a place of beauty and love. I appreciate the roots and the wings. So, maybe I’m saying that even though I’ve flown away, my heart remains. And if someday I do return, I hope it is a much wiser and gracious me than the one that left.

The years teach much which the days never knew. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thirty years older and thirty years wiser!

This week’s Spin is “Then and Now”.

33 thoughts on “Rambling Feet And A Rambling Mind

  1. I think we all need to distance ourselves from the familiar once in a while – standing back and doing just that makes us really see what we have and appreciate it all the more.

  2. Hee hee, those old sunglasses are back in style!
    Great Spin, and you’re so right. The more I venture out, the more I seem to be content with what I had to begin with. And I agree with Cindy, the years have treated you very well! You’re linked!

  3. I’m really getting the feeling that we’re traveling down the same road. You’re seeing the same signs I’m seeing. Maybe it’s because we’re the same age and come from the same area, but it sure seems like you have put words to the thoughts rumbling around in my head. I’ve been a slacker lately and haven’t written anything much, although I keep telling myself to sit still and get quiet and let the words come. Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful, insightful writings. I always look forward to reading what you have written!

  4. Sue – I had shorts just like that 30 years ago….yes we are wiser – but there has been a lot of great life and living in between — love it…bkm

  5. Heck I remember wearing those socks thirty years ago 🙂 maybe not those but some just like them.

    Life does take it’s toll on our loved ones over the years and it seems those years move quicker than we realize, you put an excellent spin on this one and my only question is Were you wearing the same socks in the now picture?

  6. Look at you, and all your coolness on the trail!
    Love, love, love the pictures.

    I understand exactly what you mean about appreciating your roots and learning from them by stepping back. Took me moving away to a city of 3 million to appreciate the good ol’ country.

    The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote is perfect. 🙂

  7. Normally, I can delve into your writing like falling into the pillow at night. But man, it’s hard to get past those socks!!! Seriously, great post. I’ve thought a lot about family too. When I was younger, I thought too much about how imperfect they were. As an adult, I see that not only are they close to perfect, but I’m damn lucky to have them as my “backbone.” I’m grateful everyday.

  8. I can’t tell you how MUCH this post touched me, Suzi! I can hear in your words how much to appreciate and honor your roots, and that to me, is just the BEST!

    I too moved away from where I was born, only to return 20 years later, to find there’s no place like home! I never realized how much my sould was always connected to the northeast until I returned.

    “It has taken a degree of separation in time and distance to fully grasp an appreciation for all that has been a part of my life.”

    You said it, girl!

    Thanks for such a wonderful share!


    P.S. Hey, I TOO had a pair of those socks!

  9. I think we need to step away to see clearly. And we need to experience life before we can appreciate it. What you’ve always had, what has always been there, the people that are around you every day are never clearly seen until they are no longer there every day. You are so right when you say “It has taken a degree of separation in time and distance to fully grasp an appreciation for all that has been a part of my life.”

  10. Sometimes distrance reminds us of what may be in front of us. I believe that travelling and experiencing things that our different from your childhood upbringing allows you to reflect and appreciate your past and the experience it brings.

  11. The first thing I noticed were those butterfly wing sunglasses! Yeah the socks were cool too.

    I have to admit at times i am soo jealous that you have a family home to go back to. We moved soo much it is impossible to say where my hometown is.

    I think everyone whats to distance themselves from the fold, just to find later on that they can’t wait to go back.

  12. You are a very wise woman … that is why I come back here to visit you often (and, of course, to see your hiking adventures).
    Your paragraph about connecting with relatives … really hit home, that is where I am at. I grew up with family all around .. grandparents next door and aunts, uncle cousins not much farther away … they were all older than me. We are distant, now, and the changes are much more obvious than they were when we saw each other often. It is tough watching how fast time changes life. Seeing what it does to people we love and realizing that it is happening to us, too (even if we don’t feel it or see it in ourselves, yet).
    But, it is not all bad … You are so right … time also gives us more wisdom and grace … and I can see that in my aging relatives and myself, too.
    Thanks for sharing .. very insightful.

  13. Great post as always, Suzi. This is the part about aging that has never scared me – becoming wiser, learning about yourself, being able to get in touch with things you wouldn’t dare to admit to when you were young… These are gifts that come only with age, time and experience.

    I think both photos are fantastic by the way :D.

  14. I left my hometown at 21 and returned at 36. During those years away, I developed a deep appreciation for family and sense of community. Now, I can’t imagine calling any place else “home.” I actually still OWN a pair of cut off jeans from 1992. I can’t seem to part with them, although I havent worn them in about 15 years. I’m sure they still fit. I sense a Halloweed costume idea coming on…

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