101204blueridgemorning.jpgWhat, our friends in the Washington area ask us, motivated us to leave our home of 23 years for the more rural environs of Southwestern Virginia?

That question comes up a lot as we finish up the packing of our seemingly endless amount of personal belongings and move them into a storage unit as we ready our condo for sale in Arlington.

As part of the packing and sorting, I came across this photo taken from a hilltop between Leesburg and Winchester, Virginia.

When we moved to the Washington area in 1981, you could drive for 30 minutes and be out of the city, away from the congestion and the madness. Open spaces began just west of Tyson’s Corner on Virginia Rte. 7 and continued into the sleepy town of Leesburg.

That was then. This is now and the greater Washington SMSA (Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area) now extends beyond Leesburg and almost to Winchester on the West and halfway to Fredricksburg in the South. It an take the greater part of two hours to clear the urban area and find the solitude of the country.

The view in this photo, once so serene and beautiful, no longer exists. Pollution from the new roads that feed new subdivisions obscure the horizon and the field where this couple stood is now covered with new, million-dollar homes.

Urban planners call it progress. We call it another reason to leave.