The morning sun often slices through the trees of our back yard in the morning and spotlights one of the reasons why we chose to move to the Blue Ridge Mountains after 23 years in Washington.  I shot this picture in 2005 because I thought it captured the beauty of life right in our back yard.

Visitors who consider moving here often ask: "Can you make a living in Floyd?" I often shrug and respond that "it depends on what you want to do and what you consider to be a living."

Amy and I made a good living for most of our lives. She was an actress and later a regional sales manager for the May Company. I was a journalist, a political operative and even a business crisis communications consultant for a while before returning to journalism. When people ask what it takes to make a living in Floyd, I usually tell them that you have to work twice as long to earn half as much but always add that the effort is worth the time.

Why? Because settling here is not about making a living. It’s about making a life. I’d much rather photograph a high school basketball game than try to jostle a hundred other photographers for position to shoot another boring politician. I’d rather jump out of the way of an onrushing football player than dodge a Humvee in a war zone.

We didn’t come here to make a living. We came to make a life — one far removed from the plastic, self-imposed stressful existence in the urban jungle. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to places most people only read about and do things that were far beyond my wildest dreams when I left Floyd in 1965. I’ve got a beautiful, loving wife, family and friends throughout the county, a great home and a lifestyle that starts with walking out into my back yard to greet sunrises like the one above.

In the last few weeks, some people are tried, unsuccessfully, to take my living away from me.

They’re missing the point. Making a living here is not that important. Making a life is.

(Photo taken in June 2005. The sun’s rays were enhanced with Photoshop)