My husband and I courted in the hills of Appalachia. We backpacked in the southern Smokies when I was still a student at the University of Georgia. We took weekend trips to Panthertown Creek in North Carolina, or Chattanooga, Tennessee, and when he and his hiking partner trekked 500 miles from Georgia to Virginia on the Appalachian Trail, I sent him care packages of homemade trail mix, and met him at little towns on the weekends, where we’d stay in B&Bs and eat breakfasts of hot biscuits.
As we got married and grew up, we moved further and further from the green hills and soft forests of our courtship. We moved to the D.C. metro area, where we sat in traffic on the beltway. In four years we never made it to Shenandoah despite a thousand proclamations, “We should head to the mountains this weekend.”
Then we moved to coastal Florida where we sweated it out in the flatlands for eight years. We bought our first house there, and bore our children there. We learned out how to be parents there, and with a seven hour drive just to get out of the state, we lost touch with the mountains, and our younger lives, completely.
When we moved to Minnesota, where we shivered and shoveled through three winters, we had no idea where our lives were taking us, or where we would end up next.
Then, as my husband’s postdoc drew to an end, and he began applying for faculty positions in Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas, he applied, and interviewed, for a position at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Back in the Appalachians, in the green hills where we met, in the soft forests where we fell in love. Back in the Appalachians where it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold, where it’s emerald green in the summer, blazing copper in the fall; where the world turns bleak in winter, and bursts into blossom in spring.
Back in the Appalachians where we’re raising our children – where we now live. Back in the Appalachians where we’re home.
This is my kickoff post for Photography 101: Home. My ambition is to post a photo a day as part of the course – I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can do it.
9 thoughts on “Appalachian Home”
This post makes me so happy. I’m so glad you found such a wonderful place to call home.
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They look beautiful. I can see why you would want to live there.
I still can’t believe we ended up here. We’re soaking it up 🙂
Beautiful photo and words – I feel I know you better now.
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This picture made my knees go weak…so beautiful in itself, but it really is emblematic of many things for those of us with ancestry that hearkens us back to the Appalachian mountains. I’ve never been able to spend time there but always feel a soul connection to the landscape. My dad was born in Kentucky, and my mom’s Scots-Irish family hail from Tennessee. 🙂 …lovely picture of your home; thank you.
I love the fusion of Scots-Irish and deep South sensibilities in the Appalachians. It’s a unique combination for sure. Have you seen the movie Songcatcher, about Appalachian music, which of course has Scottish and Irish origins. It’s one of my favorite movies – wonderful twangy, traditional music in it.
I love that movie!! My grandpa was a fiddler and played old country dance tunes…I’m working (slowly) on a blog post about the writer Marie Campbell who I think might have provided some of the model for the young schoolteacher in the movie; have you read ‘Cloud Walking’? It is a rare gem if you can find it.
Welcome to the Blue Ridge! It is truly a beautiful place to live. I grew up north of Blacksburg and spent 12 years in Northern Virginia before coming back home. I now have a wonderful perspective on the beauty of the mountains and my proximity to nature and amazing outdoor recreation. It feeds my soul, as I can tell it feeds yours. Great post!
Love this! On my list of hiking destinations, looking at your photo makes me want to get there soon! Thank you
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