I live in a beautiful rural county in Appalachia that few have ever heard of, fewer have seen with their own eyes, and a pittance actually have the blessing to call their home. This county is surrounded and sectioned by the sort of steep but gently undulating long ridges that typify the ancient and amorous Appalachian Mountains. In a narrow highland valley, between two such ridges, on the crest of a supple hill, lies a small town with no traffic light, no gas station, no post office, no commercial venture of any kind, just a grouping of houses smaller than a single block in a standard suburban housing development. Close enough in distance to this town to be considered a resident of it, but far enough distant to be blissfully uninvolved in the geopolitical and social affairs of its few nosy and gossiping inhabitants, my family and I reside on a small farm, and give thanks every day for what we view as a blessed existence.
On this small farm, in this small town, in this small valley, in this small county, we raise our small children as part of our small family. Having more than half a dozen children may not be thought of as having a small family in these days of birth control and family planning, but having less than a dozen children does sometimes make us feel as though our family is on the small side. Maybe in the future our family will be blessed with more children, if that is how things are supposed to be. In the present, we raise our family on our farm; unseen from the nearest road, unseen from the nearest town, unnoticed by the world. In this way we are anonymous, and wish to remain so.
Within this fog of anonymity I write, in the hopes that my words will reach who they must, to pass on the knowledge that, encircled by a veil of fog, confused by our inability to see the world outside, we are forced to look within for our guidance, and in doing so we find clarity. We find that within ourselves, we inherently know everything we need to know, but thus far our inner selves have been drowned out by the constant noise of the outside world. We have been conditioned by years of newspaper, radio, television, phones, cell phones, and now the internet, to believe that we are somehow personally affected by the human world outside. A man’s emotions are altered by the outcome of a game of sport played a thousand miles away by people he has never and will never meet. He chooses to be affected in this way. He wastes valuable time and mental and emotional energy by being affected in this way, and he is harmed by it. He may choose at any time to stop allowing this affectation, but is he aware that he even has this choice?