The Joys and Pleasures of Foolishness


When we decided to follow our hearts and move to our true home in the mountains from Raleigh five years ago, not a single person in our extended families supported us or, for that matter, even seemed to wish us well.  Yes, we had our own personal Prophets of Doom, who issued all manner of dire predictions, including the certainty of financial ruin—because our moving was not “financially prudent.”

And I had not a single word to offer in our defense (except that our spirits were weary and we yearned to go home).  Because, the truth is, they were right.  Leaving a good job and a decent home for an uncertain future was indeed not “financially prudent.” And, just as they predicted, we did experience financial hardship, though we’ve always had plenty to eat and a warm place to lay our heads.

And, now, five years later, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is making $12.17 an hour, whereas five years ago in Raleigh, he made $17.00 an hour.  So, still, I have no rational argument to offer my still critical extended family.  How do you make a case for riches of the spirit?  Is there really a rationale for choosing a full heart over a full wallet?

Probably not, at least from a logical viewpoint.  But perhaps instead I could offer these photographs.  They were all taken in a 48-hour period this past weekend from our front yard.  Yes, in just two day’s time, we saw: a double rainbow arcing over the valley, snow that frosted the peaks and made the Appalachians look like the Alps, and a sunrise over the mountains that took my breath away. 

So, we count our blessings instead of our cash.  And we’ll show our relatives in the flatlands these pictures and congratulate them for their financial prudence.  And we’ll try not to mind that they think we’re foolish, irrational, and a little crazy for what we did.  Because, really, maybe we are. 

But if we are mad, we are content in our madness.  And if we are fools, we are joyful—and most grateful—fools.  

“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.”  ~Kahlil Gibran





14 Responses to “The Joys and Pleasures of Foolishness”

  1. CountryDew Says:

    Those are wonderful photos. Riches are what you make of them, and money certainly isn’t everything. Generally speaking, most folks in the US are better off than the majority of the world. We tend to forget that here in our isolation.

    I think having the basics is all that’s necessary; everything else is champaign.

  2. luckypennies Says:

    Wow! Those are some blessings. Beautiful photos.

    I’m still so glad we moved. I feel that even through the hardship, we were led by our hearts and the Spirit, and I think we continue to be led by that.

  3. eemilla Says:

    Congratulations on having the courage to ignore the doom and gloom! I certainly enjoy your photographs and writing so I for one am glad you came to these mountains. I had to go to Atlanta for a year before I could recognize the blessing it is to have grown up in these hills, and I know that although one day we may move to another gorgeous locale, I will always have a special place for Asheville. Oh, you may mention to the flatlanders that although your salaries are less, you are saving ooddles by the simple virtue of drinking some of the best tap water anywhere.

  4. Pat Says:

    I love this post, Beth. You are so wise and the pictures are so beautiful.

  5. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Amen sister. Perfect, perfect response.

    “So, we count our blessings instead of our cash” and “But if we are mad, we are content in our madness. And if we are fools, we are joyful—and most grateful—fools.” I love these sentences.

    And the Gibran quote–perfect.

    As you know, we have our naysayers, too. Your beautiful words affirm our decisions as well.

    By the way, we saw rainbows, too, this weekend: three of them. And, the snow on the peaks. And you can check out my Blue Ridge Dreaming blog’s Wordless Wednesday for our sunrise. I like it that you and I were seeing and appreciating the same skies these last few days.

  6. Jeff Says:

    I have a dear friend who knows my family and upon observing the changes in relationships after the death of my Mother offered the following wise words: “You can pick your family, you know. Blood ties are not the only basis for families.”

    Follow your bliss, Beth, as Joseph Campbell said. Didn’t Jesus say something about judging others? Assigning labels like “foolish, irrational, and crazy” sounds like judging to me ….

  7. June Says:

    Gorgeous shots and your words touched me so…it takes courage to live rather than exist. There’s a quote I posted a couple of days ago that you might like…

  8. Clara Melvin Says:

    Beth, you’ve done it again…..touched me with your words and you photos. What is money if we cannot see such beauty? I will take the beauty any day!

  9. Judy Says:

    Hi Beth, If you are mad, I want to be mad with you! I think you are truly blessed to live where you do, have all that beautiful scenery just outside your door, and get up each morning in a place you love. We need some money to live, but we need food for the soul to survive. Just loved the photos.

  10. Linda H Says:

    Beautiful pix! And from your front porch! Wow!
    What price joy, eh?

  11. colleen Says:

    Those are some eye openers.

    You can’t put a price on somethings. We all make less here too but our expenses are lower as well. I’m not in debt so I feel rich! Or at least not a slavery to life’s things.

  12. selzach Says:

    Beautiful post and beautiful photos. The family and I will be heading to WNC for Thanksgiving. I’m counting the days till we get there….I miss the mountains so much.

  13. Benjamin Says:


    I know you’re mad (who among the four of us is immune to that?!). But you ARE wise and a spiritual being. And I count my days in minutes, not dollars 😉 financial prudence…bah humbug!

  14. Shannon Says:

    Ah, can I show this to my Husband? I’m constantly trying to talk him into moving because of these very reasons. I want to go home to my Asheville, Boone and Black Mountain. The flat of Illinois is killing my spirit. Shannon

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