On June 24, 2014 we began traveling to Princeton, West Virginia to see family and surprise them with a chihuahua puppy. By we, I mean my Dad and I. It’s an 8-hour drive so we had plenty of time in the car together… along with two dogs, one Chihuahua puppy and our personal pup Levi. We left early in the morning, both tired, and it was to be a long eight hours.
About midday we made it to the mountainous part of Virginia, with still about three hours left. We drove on roads that were what seemed to be right smack in the middle of two mountains. Looking at the rock layers made me realize how intricately the earth is made. Looking for a pastime, I researched how mountains are formed… which is totally something I should have known. They are the result of two tectonic plates that push together with such immense force that they actually fold upwards… and the layers of rock inside are (what used to be) underground.
We stopped for lunch and to walk the dogs when we were about an hour away from our destination. According to my Dad the puppy never gave it a rest, he was clearly ready to give her to the new owners.
Now of course I was still curious how all these mountain roads came to be, and with little effort I found the answer. It’s called Civil Engineering. Civil Engineering is grating, scraping, excavating, or blasting through the Earth to make way for roads or canals. Blasting is the most common, where room for roads is made by carefully placed explosives. Some people call this “earthmoving”. Just a fun fact, I found this interesting too.
The next day, June 25, was spent with my Grandparents, shopping and what-not. That evening we were looking through old photo albums and things when I found a huge binder (my Grandpa had put together years ago) of my family history. Ancestry has always interested me. I spent the rest of the night sorting through it, curious… and turns out they were quite fascinating.
Comfort Daniels Christian was my “grandma” of about 7 generations ago. She was born in Kentucky in 1829, and died in Ben Creek, West Virginia in 1941. She lived to be a hundred and fourteen years of age. For a while she was granted the oldest person in West Virginia, and she had a total of sixteen children… who gave her 84 in total grandchildren! I don’t know how she kept up. The children worked in the coal mines while their father (Robert Christian, of cherokee lineage) worked on a plantation. It interests me how different things were, when they used horse and buggy and relied on the land to survive.
These are my roots, I thought. These people survived so their children could too, and so on. It seems like life is taken for granted nowadays, and not just life, communication and technology. Technology two hundred years ago was a pickaxe to mine more efficiently. So with my travel to West Virginia I’ve realized how easy everyday life has became for us, and to be appreciative. An example? Cutting through mountains for transportation, and the technology that allows us to achieve that. I’m grateful for what this generation has been blessed with.
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