A “Vignette” of a Thought about Hills and Valleys

Dear Reader:

An expression we have to get used to in our society….sometimes as a joke at 30, especially 40, and from then on just whenever it pops up on a cake…usually on a candle in the shape of a tombstone is- “Over the Hill.” (Slightly humorous the first few times…not so much so if it continues ad nauseam.)

After everything I have been through for the past decade (in the health department area of my life) I am most thankful for birthdays and simply happy that I might be  ‘over the hill’ but not under it. Still it is strange to think about aging when our feelings inside don’t match our appearances outside. (I have always been so happy that I don’t have to go around looking at myself ….instead I get to turn that dubious occurrence  over to everyone else.)

Yesterday I happened to walk in the den when different celebrities (on television)were talking about age…the one I loved was “We might be over the hill…but who knew there were so many hills still left to climb?”

That thought stuck with me the remainder of the day. How true it is…it doesn’t matter how old we grow…there is no shortage of rolling hills to surround us chronologically. What would life be like if there were no challenges left…no hills to climb to see another beautiful valley or ocean or mountain in the distance?

I have been working on my ancestry sporadically and discovered that the Barbours originally lived in Northcumberland….the border between northern England and Scotland…it is a beautiful land (more castles there per mile than any other in the two areas) with rolling hills…one after another after another. (Title Photo)

*I couldn’t help but think that it was no coincidence that I was born in Cumberland County North Carolina while part of the family lived/lives in Durham, North Carolina…another famous English/Scottish location.

Since I am also working on different sides of the family for the children the surname “Dingle” originates from the term dingle meaning a small wooden hollow among woods and hills. ‘Dingle’ is used interchangeably with “dell.” (A dell meaning a small valley between mountains.) -In fact sometimes these hollows or valleys in England/ Northern Ireland/Scotland are called ‘Dingle Dells.”

*So if you ever remember singing “The Farmer in the Dell” ….the lyrics depicted a farmer, his family, and animals living in a dell or a valley…it could have been called  “The Farmer in the Valley.”

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell, hi-ho the derry-o…the farmer in the dell.” (He takes a wife who takes a child who takes a dog who takes a bone….sometimes ending there or sometimes the ‘cheese stood alone.’)

There is always so much more history behind nursery rhymes than we can ever imagine…just like there is so much more living to do beyond “over the hill.”


Kaitlyn took this picture of Tommy looking out over the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland… from the surrounding rolling hills and mountains….if it felt strangely like coming home…it probably was.



So until tomorrow…Aren’t we glad that there will always be another distant hill to roll our way and another mountain to climb….Just think…we would never have a valley if we didn’t have a mountain?

“Today is my favorite day”








About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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7 Responses to A “Vignette” of a Thought about Hills and Valleys

  1. bcparkison says:

    Love the quote. Do you remember who said it?
    At my birthday dinner the other night with my son andDnL and all 6 kids whry ask..” How old are you Bebe?” I said 74 and I used to think that was old. It is all in the way we look at things and to be honest some day it is older than other days.
    We are in a winter warning now. So we will see what happens.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      You are right….no matter our age…some days just make us feel old and others make us feel like a spring chicken again….I remember a comedian defining “old” as someone who is at least 15 years older than you….think he might have been onto something there! Be careful of the weather…Honey mentioned they might get more snow coming across the mountains.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynn Gamache says:

    Hi Becky….I continue to so enjoy each of your blogs, but recently one of the best was a couple of days ago when you quoted the Wise Old Owl poem. Always loved that little “jingle” and used it often when teaching my elementary school classes. Realized later in life how very true it was, and how I (who like to speak and make myself heard) needed to learn more about being still and listening. So I commend you on your choice of a word for this new year.

    Then just read your blog from yesterday and enjoyed the references to aging. The one I like and found on a b’day card when my husband and I both turned 50 some years ago now (we both have Dec. b’days just one week apart). And yes, we were both born in 1946 so that tells you how old we are now! Yes, I would think that our kids and grandkids would consider their parents getting to be well over the hill and heading down the other side. But a card we received when we both turned 50 (hence my fun-loving auntie sent us just one card with congrats on now being 100…you see she was emphasizing that two 50’s make 100). Now that does indeed sound VERY old. But back to the card and what it said: “If you are now over the hill, that means you are just gathering speed!” Don’t you like that?

    I think this may tie in with some of your thoughts from today. As we get over one mtn. there will be more to see lie ahead of us if we are willing to walk thru some valleys first. Since I’m bi-polar my life is much about roller coaster rides of emotions…or climbing up and down mountains. One month I may be find myself in a deep and dark depression. Awful. Frightening. Debilitating; Disabling; Discouraging. BUT, then God comes along to lift me up and carry me through these dark valley times. He helps me gain a new perspective and “fear no evil” for He as my Shepherd is always with me, ready to hold my hand, lift me up and help me climb that next mountain that rises high above the darkness of my present situation. Then how very beautiful the bright vistas and wonderful warmth of the sunshine as I perservere and gradually make my way up thru the rugged rocks to the summit of that next challenging crag. For sure, as the gospel song says, “He’s the God of the mountains and the God of the valleys…and He’s always there when things go wrong ” Bless His holy name!! Kept in His love, Lynn from beautiful British Columbia, Canada.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Wow Lynn…love all your thoughts today….and the birthday greeting is too cute and so true….”If you are now over the hill, that just means you are gathering speed?” 🙂

      I can only imagine how a bi-polar condition can keep you climbing a mountain one day and falling back in a dark valley the next…What I always try to remember from Psalm 23 is that it is a symbolic description of the world, meaning darkness and death are (symbolic) valleys on earth one must walk through as part of the human experience. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4. And remember in order to have a shadow you must have light…the “Sun” must be present.


  3. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Love the picture of Tommy…what a wonderful thing to experience…


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