..Big city semblance, small town feel. This seems to be the comportment of this lovely city in which we have found ourselves. Mountains surround us and a river wanders around the valley. While we rode in on a cold white horse, the storm quickly blew through, leaving behind a warmer yet gray aura. Veils of fog hang over the surrounding peaks and only on a few afternoons has a bit of blue attempted to sneak in. It’s February in the mountains and the song of spring is still only a hum in the distance. When we left South Carolina the first starts of a change of season , albeit a false one, were beginning to be seen. Here that promise is just that, a promise. Riding around the mountain roads today, one could only be amazed at the power of ice and wind. Trees split in two by its power. Frozen in a nighttime, cruel winds not only snapped the weakened limbs but brought down some mighty older souls. The forest was purged perhaps of the aged and dying, but the new replacements are still underground waiting for the first opportunity to break through for their chance at a lifetime of changing seasons. With the cold wind blowing, one has to use their imagination to see the beauty that is soon to return.
We find the folks decidedly different from the weather outside. They are warm, friendly and full of life. More of the hard working Americans we almost always encounter, just making the best of a bad economy. I empathize with them, wanting more for the future and stoically taking things in stride, a day at a time. We are working with Hospital employees on this case. I sense somehow that having seen some of the worst that can happen to a person, these souls handle the lesser hardships with a more humble appreciation for the good in their lives.
When first encountering any new city, first impressions often don’t measure up to truth. This city has born that out. Intertwining interstates and high rises usually equate to madness and congestion of traffic, but for some reason even at “rush” hour, this seems not to be the case. There are no cut ins, racing to the next stoplight, bumper to bumper creep alongs, or irate hand gestures to be noticed by this traveler. Southern genteel drivers? How rare. Perhaps there is less influx of outsiders to stir confusion into the mix, unlike most heavily populated metropolitan areas, major tourist destinations or communities with blue hairs in golf carts. (Sidebar: Don’t get into a snit, as I have my AARP card and can comment on my own kind..) Whatever the case maybe, this is quite a find of an area to drive around. From down by the river, with the paddle boats, steamboats and other flotilla, to the Lookout waysides from which you could see for days, well, if it weren’t so cold and fuzzy. Yet again it’s February, but I have a great minds eye so I can see it all well.
I have further things to explore in this area, but fear there will be no time this trip. This “feels” to be a place that will need additional investigation. Perhaps on a hot summers day in South Carolina, this would be a wonderful respite against our high humidity, cool and green with an abundance of silence on the mountain breezes. Maybe an excursion around the area in the fall, when the leaves I’m sure burst with immeasurable vibrancy, would be the ticket. Do the reds and golds take your breath away here? I bet that they do.
To quote Dr. Seuss, whose insights just sneak up on ya’ in my opinion, “You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you will be the guy who’ll decide where you’ll go. Oh the places you’ll go.” Traveling is one of the many things that I absolutely love about my work. Exploring any place which opens your eyes and expands your senses, also opens your mind to what possibilities that there are out here in this world of ours. No, I’m not off to Timbuktu or Italy next, but maybe, just maybe.. someday. My heart is “grounded” with home, but I see no reason for my soul not to fly.