I overheard a conversion not long ago. Hey, if you talk loud enough that I can hear you, I’m probably going to listen!
So, the waitress was talking to a family from Miami that came to the mountains to evade hurricane Irma. She was telling them, as soon as she finishes school, she’s moving to Miami. She loves the beach, and has dreamed of moving there since she was ten. She looks forward to a time when she can walk out on the beach every single day.
I started wondering, what makes me love the mountains so much that I can’t imagine being this happy anywhere else? What is it about the beach that had captivated this girl as the mountains captivate me? I grew up on the beaches of South Carolina. I remember the sunrises and sunsets. I remember the thrill of reaching under the water and feeling sand dollars everywhere. Sandcastles, and being buried in the sand. So many shells, and sea grasses washing up on shore. It was really exciting to find fragments of coral. So many memories of hanging out with family and friends at the oceanside. Happy times. Even the not so happy times. I remember the time when my foot barley escaped the grasp of a blue crab, and the time I was grazed by a jellyfish tentacle. The stress of swimming while on my period, wondering if I was luring all the sharks in a 100 mile radius. Sand in the crotch is no picnic, and don’t forget the salt water film on a nice lobster tan! So I ponder….why do I seem to enjoy the mountains more? Why is it my heart tells me to call this home?
I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents’ home in Stillwater, Pennsylvania. We didn’t go often, but they are some of my favorite memories from childhood. My Nana almost always had her own little mini farm. She always had some sort of animals, and a small garden. She lived on the edge of a large creek. My siblings and I spent a lot of time playing in that cold mountain water. Nana would always say we were playing in cow pee and poo, since they had a cow pasture upstream and they drank from the creek. We could care less, it was so fun! Winters were so cold, unlike what we were used to, being raised in the lowcountry. It wasn’t often we had the opportunity to see snow, let alone play in it!
In all those trips to Stillwater, I recall not one bad memory. If I had to guess, I would say that is probably the main reason I enjoy the mountains so much. A road trip usually puts everyone in an upbeat mood. There’s nothing better in life than a family enjoying time with each other. Those were the days!
Today, when I sit on my porch watching the sun come up, sometimes I reflect on those times in Stillwater. But more often, I enjoy fully indulging in the moment. It’s hard to describe the experience of living in the valley, surrounded by the mountains. I always tell people, “It’s like the mountains are giving me a hug”. It is peaceful, aside from the occasional siren or motorcycle pack. The mountains are like a canvas, painted with bright, vibrant green in the spring, a rainbow of colors in the fall, and rugged and barren in the winter. The babbling creek is a nice touch, knowing the fresh, cold water emerges from two rock crevices, not far down the road. I love my home, and I wish this kind of happiness for everyone to enjoy.
We are all on our own paths in life. Some people are content staying where they were born and raised. Others desire a change in scenery, like me. I have known for years that I wanted to move to the mountains one day. No matter where you live, whether it be mountains, beach, or even city life, I think it’s important that people are always pursuing something that makes them feel fulfilled, happy, and peaceful inside. I know that not everyone that wants to, can just up and move to the beach. But, if it’s what you really want to do, it is what you should be working toward. Even if we’re not quite where we want to be yet, I think we also need to just take a step back sometimes, look around, and try to see all the good things surrounding us. Wherever you choose to call home, I hope that it resonates with your soul. Indeed, there’s no place like home.