The Shenandoah Valley sits between the Allegheny and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is stunning. This contrasts starkly with the fact that it was the site of great violence and death during the Civil War. As a consequence of scorched earth strategies, most of it was burned by troops. Yet when I entered Virginia and drove for a while, and when the Blue Ridge finally came into view, all I could see was the valley's beauty. There was no trace of fire or ferocity. Before me was a tranquil land that filled me with a sense of hopefulness, a place of rebirth and renewal that I had encountered at just the right time. I could go on, even in the face of uncertainty. I had no other choice.
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