After leaving the library the other day I walked across the street and spent some time wandering around the square in downtown Lynchburg.
Lynchburg is most famous for being the home of Jack Daniels, the world famous whisky distillery.
When I was married I used to live on a 20 acre farm located about eight miles from Lynchburg.
The distillery is just on the outskirts of town and I once took the tour with both of my boys.
Surprisingly for all the whiskey that this small town brews it is also ironically a dry town.
The downtown square is small, quiet, beautiful, often busy during the summer months.
It, as with other towns that depend so much on tourism, combines both the real elements necessary for the everyday life of local residents with the trappings that tourists expect when they visit such a place.
Most banks, restaurants, the jail, utility companies, everyday business offices are on (or just off) the main highway heading out of town.
Most tourist related businesses are on the square.
Most of the stores in the square are directly or indirectly tied to Jack Daniels.
A few years ago there used to be more antique and craft stores but after wandering the other day I see now that although there are still a few craft stores, most have reverted to bumper sticker and ball cap and t-shirt type of establishments.
The square effectively packages and markets down-home, home spun, red neck, old country, and of course Jack.
Fiddle music plays and in the summer Jack Daniels barrels are home to annual flowers outside each of the stores.
It is pretty, it is quiet, it is surrounded by green rolling hills.
More on Lynchburg:
I was looking for a poem about finding peace, saw the title of this one, thought it sounded familiar so clicked on it.
Someone I knew a few years ago read it to me.
It did not resonate at the time as so many other things did not resonate at the time.
A few years later and it now does...............
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.