Sunday, December 12, 2010

Southern West Virginia & Us

It's hard to imagine that it's been over two months since we have touched this blog. This is not to say that we have not entertained the idea of posting an up-date every now and again. Yet, the time never seemed right, the internet connection never consistent nor the space of time ever provided. Too many good things to make ourselves sit down and write.

In addition, I have had a tumultuous relationship with this format of communication (meaning this blog). Still, many have asked us when we are going to up-date our blog. I have shared with them my struggle to begin writing again within a public format but did not feel a sense of resolution in letting it go completely.

So I have been thinking - what do I want this blog to become? Do I want it to become a format which I communicate the daily happenings of my life with Jake & Yael? Should I begin to write more about the causes of the world which both Jake & I feel so deeply about? Is this a space that I should just keep to myself and use it as a means to write about my personal journey in this new stretch of life? Or, as I have decided to do, should I use this space as a means to share with our many friends and family about our new life in the Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia.

Having recently found myself with a couple of days to reflect of our move to Beckley, WV I have found myself feeling more free. I have come to find that our life in Chicago, although full of wonderful and life-giving friends, was too big, and yet too confining for me. Our circles of friends was too big and I felt stretched too far to keep up. And yet, the community - in it's natural(?) state was too confining. So much concrete and so little grass. I remember many weekends when I would naturally want to send our care packages, return calls, visit friends or engage my creativity - I simply didn't have the energy to do so. I simply needed to rest.

So with that current reflection in the forefront of my mind - I want to keep the following goals for my new life as a stay-at-home mom, a nurturer to my husband and a participate in the Beckley community:
a) I want my circle to remain small(ish). I want to know deeply and learn from a small group of people - be them my neighbors, friends, spiritual community, YMCA members, people I engage with in the grocery store. I need for my circle to remain small.

b) The median income for the Beckley community is a smidge over $29,000. This is not a wealthy community - it's a coal mining community in the hills of a community experiencing generational poverty. I want to learn more about our community, the lives of those who live here. What are their personal stories which they care for?

c) There are also generations of crafty people, comfort food and great music (thanks Rachel!) here. I want to spend time learning how to engage the folk art presence in the lives of those who practice here and learn how to make some good ole' Appalachian food. There are cookbooks upon cookbooks of traditional dishes and yet - a community based, privately owned restaurant is hard to come by/doesn't exist in Beckley. Why is such a socially rich community taken over with chains and big business?

d) Lastly, I want to know more about the Beckley community as a whole through the local news, current events and people. There is a lot going on here politically and socially and yet - I haven't noticed any socially orientated groups who advocate or provide for social needs one way or another. Where is social activism taking place?

So, in the midst of trying to find a space to hold myself accountable for becoming part of this community and trying to find a way to bring new life to this blog - this is what it will look like in the coming weeks/months. We hope you'll stick around, learn a bit about our new life in Beckley, the community who lives here and the social issues surrounding each of us in the Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia.


Asheley said...

Oh no that community isn't going to know what hit them! Love u! And your mission!

Rachel said...

Update when you want. That's a good start.

I would love to hear about all the things you've listed, though I understand the feeling of wanting to keep personal journey offline. I struggle with these questions, too. That said, I am really happy with little updates, even.

Your points about Chicago are really important, and I'm glad to get to read them. It asked so much of all of us, and we asked so much of each other there. Sometimes.

I really, really hope to know about life in Beckley - yours and its. I have been listening to some Appalachian music as I write a paper and longing for the great things that come out of that part of the world. Don't forget to listen for the music! Folks pickin' on their porches seems right up y'alls alley - one of the many opportunities you'll have to get to know people.

Also, I'm in the market for a banjo. Like.. for real. So if you see a good used one, snap it up and I'll pay you back. :)


Love to you all, God's peace and embrace to you all

Rachel said...

Oh, and I just ate raw garlic.


Brian Stipp said...

bring it.


syahrielkomdewa said...

i like it