There’s just something about those mountains. Every time I go they get to me. The woods are deep and dark and lovely. They speak to something deep in my soul – something of who I truly am. I treasure my childhood. It was simple in the way that a childhood should be. My sister and I could explore the hills as long as we could hear when our mom yelled for us to come home. My daddy plowed our gardens with a horse and plow. They tended the land. We ate from it. Though I’m pretty sure I was lazy and not helpful, watching them has given me an appreciation and love of the earth that has come back to me now. One of my favorite smells in the world is a tomato vine.
The hollow (“holler”) where we lived was small – just a one lane dirt road up the mountain. Behind our house was another smaller hollow. This was what I loved the most. The mountainside was covered in ferns. The creek running through made its way slowly over a solid rock with moss lining each side. The forest was a mix of poplars, hemlock, sassafras and others. There were two moss covered logs that had fallen who knows when. It was there that I would retreat to when I was happy or sad. It’s where I envisioned traveling to faraway lands and falling in love. It’s also where I knew without a doubt that there is a God even before I had met Jesus. The sound of the creek trickling and the smell of the woods was so perfect and unspoiled and I knew what I had there was special. It was and still is “my happy place” though I haven’t been there in years. I miss it so much. Especially on hot summer days when wading in the cool water and even cupping my hands for a drink would be so refreshing.
I’ve been out west and see the splendor of the Rockies. I’ve seen two oceans – each so magnificent, but there is no place that gets to me like home. I’m sure I’ve romanticized it a bit since I’ve lived elsewhere for so long, but maybe not. I know living there is not easy. There’s statistics and articles to prove it. Here is one. But I cannot deny the place in my heart for the place I grew up.
Its such a part of me that I sometimes feel like my kids are missing out. Yes I have a case of FOMO. How can I give my kids the same love and appreciation of the Earth? Will they have such a connection to the place we now live? Being in a neighborhood in a city? I love Lexington and we try to explore the city and really be Lexingtonians. Maybe some of you life long city dwellers can enlighten me. Or others who loved their childhood home and have moved away. How do you create that same thing for your children? Or if you left the place your grew up but it never left you, I’d love to hear about it.