Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 10

F

from the
farm

elizabeth hunter

The Gift of Days
simple drawings have come to be a way to recognize what
each day affords, whether it invokes joy or weepiness.
Back in 1995, when this magazine
was seven years old and I was
approaching 50, I wrote a column
entitled, “The Gift of Days.” What I
said struck a chord with many readers; we got a lot of mail in response. I
just re-read the column and – unsurprisingly – agree with the gist of it:
that what we can acquire with money
(faster cars and computers, clearer
TVs; this was before we all also had to
have smartphones, iPods, iPads and
the zillion other 21st-century bare
necessities of life) is poor exchange
for the time we devote to making
money to buy those things.
But there was one thing I wrote
that brought me up short. After listing a number of things we value that,
no matter how much money we
make, we can’t count on obtaining –
“abiding love, children who turn out
well, respect of peers, and a home we
love” – I said the one valuable thing
we could count on was “the gift of
days.”
How’s that again?
Two years ago, my brother
Graham, two years my junior, didn’t
wake up one morning. Nothing
brought the fact that my days are
finite home to me quite like his death.
And yet, the farther I get from March
24, 2011, the easier it has been for

10 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

me to forget to embrace the particular day I’m living in, and to look for its
particular gift.
Just before Christmas last year, I
undertook a project aimed at rectifying this oversight. At other times, I’d
created a file on my computer I’d
attempted to visit every day, to list
that day’s gift, but my efforts had
always petered out. This time, I tried a
different tack: I made myself a little
book with enough pages to get me
from December 23 to March 31 if I
allotted each day a page. I colorcoded the pages (blue for December,
tan for January, pale blue for
February, light green for March), and
numbered them in pencil. My idea
was to identify each day’s gift, and do
a drawing to illustrate it.
I assigned myself a drawing rather
than a written notation for a couple
of reasons. For one, I’ve been keeping
a journal for years – I have a whole
shelf of them – and I have never had
the least desire to reread anything I’ve
written in them. (Whenever I have
taken one down and tried to get
myself to read it, I’ve been bored by
its banality, and quickly returned it to
the shelf.) The only thing about the
journals that remains interesting to
me are the things I’ve pasted in – a
poem I liked from Writer’s Almanac, a

photo I’ve taken, a card from a friend.
But I didn’t want to make a scrapbook. I’d tried that too, and lost interest. I did, however, want to make
myself draw regularly. Drawing is
something I’d done a fair amount of
in my young middle age, and
acquired a certain proficiency. But
somehow it always fell to the bottom
of my priority list, whenever I got
busy (and sometimes even when I
wasn’t). Could I make my Gift of Days
book address both my lack of attention to each day’s gift and my seeming inability to draw regularly? I knew
I would fall behind on the drawings
when I was busy, so I made a rule: at
least identify and write down each
day’s gift. Catch up on the drawings
when I had time to do it.
In the four months that I’ve kept
this up I’ve fallen as many as 10 days
behind on the drawings. But I still
managed to keep the list current, and
devoted one soggy, dreary February
weekend to catching up on the drawings. Not wanting to do that again, I
set aside time now when a few days
elapse without drawing. Usually I
draw at my kitchen counter. I’ve had
to overcome other little barriers, not
the least of which was not to let a
bad drawing (or a major mistake in an
otherwise acceptable drawing) derail



Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Table of Contents
Digital Help Guide
Letters
From the Editor
From the Farm
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys
Country Roads
The Hike
Mountain Report
Festivals and Events
The Best of the Mountains 2013
25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Cabin in the Woods
Flavors
Mountain Garden
The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Best of the Mountains 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 85
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cabin in the Woods
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 87
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 88
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 89
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 91
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 93
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 94
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 95
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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