A major theme of this blog has been the restoration of rural America, and the promotion of the idea that the future of the United States rests in its rural areas and small towns. I have often touted the affordability and the decency of the country as major selling points to those looking for a change of scenery.
So this piece at The Abbeville Insitute—Travis Holt’s “Thirty Pieces of Silver“—grabbed my attention. Holt is a native son of the Ozarks in Arkansas, and he writes movingly about how his ancestors carved a livelihood out of the rough mountains of a challenging wilderness. He details the sweat and toil that went into improving the land, and of gradually expanding small family plots.
Holt also describes a process all-too-familiar in the New South: the commercialization of those hard-won family plots. Holt does not denounce the sale of family lands in general, as he recognizes the economic hardships and the lure of better lives, but he does lament the sacrifice of heritage, history, and family to the whims of the market. His essay grapples with the complexity of that loss, and his own determination to keep his familial lands.