Tucked in the rolling hills of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a grist mill rests from nearly two centuries of toil. Now silent, it stands as a reminder the essential milling of the yearly grain harvest for family farmers who in turn fed the nation with bread, the staff of life. A roadside marker gives a brief history of the Andrew Zirkle Grist Mill.
Water no longer rushes through the mill race to spin a wooden water wheel and power the giant millstones that forced wheat berries into fine flour.
One can almost hear the splash of falling water and feel the rhythmic heart beat of whirling gears and stone that ran from dawn to dusk.
Settle on the grass and ponder this: Is it truly progress that feeds us faux fare that can not sustain? Have we come so far from the miller’s craft that we have lost the life-giving goodness of bread made close to the field with flour warm from the grist mill stone? I wonder.