One of the many beautiful waterfalls near Brevard, North Carolina....
I was thinking today of how blessed I am to have had the life I have lived. I've lived around the country quite a bit, and met lots of really great people, and seen some of the most fantastic scenery a person could ever hope to witness.
I'm from the midwest farm country, here where I am back living again. The plains have a beauty all their own, the lush green and lots of trees. The skies are wide open and the air is clean. I grew up here with a good work ethic and a solid foundation for surviving whatever life decided to throw me. As a young person...I couldn't wait to get out! lol I live here across the river from St. Louis, in Illinois, in a place I like to call Corntown lol
I've lived in America's Dairyland, Wisconsin. When I was about 19 years old I lived for a year in Lake Geneva. It was gorgeous. A resort town and sweet and the famous Wrigley's moored their boats there. I met a beautiful soul named Gary Micheal, he nicknamed me Sunshine. It was a year of falling in love and getting my heart broken and growing up. My memories of it (and the people I met there) are all warm and fuzzy....
I lived in Denver, Colorado for a year or so... Rocky Mountain High. The summers were hot and the winters were cold and I loved it. I spent some time working in a place that housed teen aged runaways. I met a guy named David who was going to college to become a psychologist and we became great friends. I met a lot of very cool people from all over the country...in 1975, Denver was Mecca for a lot of us. I still have a lot of pictures from there and lots of great memories. A woman named Maya became my very good friend...she lost her husband in a work accident, he was electrocuted moving irrigation pipe one day. Good times and bad times...
I lived in California...first in a resort town called Clear Lake for about 6 years or more and then on up to the North Coast in Eureka/Arcata. I stayed for about 20 years. Northern California is maybe the most stunning place on earth. While there I got to see things like Yosemite and Cannery Row and Monterrey and Disneyland and San Francisco. I got to finish my drinking (finally!!) and get sober there. My heart is there. I would go back in a blink if I thought I could afford it these days. When I got settled in California...I was home. My whole being, right down to the cells, sighed in relief. There was Randy and Polly and Jake and Marcia. There was Carl and Katie and Nancy and Barbara. There were so many people...so many faces and lives that intercepted mine. All of us on a journey somewhere. So much love. So much life. I found my partner there. I found myself.
My job sent me to Portland, Oregon for a year to work. I missed California, but Oregon is nice too. I am not a city girl, and wasn't crazy about Portland. I did love the Columbia River Gorge, the Rose Gardens, and Powells--the biggest bookstore I have ever seen. I went up on Mt. Hood in the snow in July. THAT was pretty cool. I travelled to Astoria and on up to Seattle and did lots of sightseeing the short time I was there. I was ready to leave when it was time though.
I lived in Western North Carolina for 10 years after that, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was heavenly. I had a bit of a time trying to live in the South, but I was in love with the countryside. The mountains are sacred to me. I did lots of travelling those 10 years...everywhere from Key West in the south to the Allegheny Mountains in the north. I visited Gettysburgh, Savannah, the Poconos, Nashville, New Orleans, Texas, Mexico, the Florida Panhandle. I had friends across the border in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had friends on the Cherokee Reservation in the beautiful Maggie Valley. I felt a great spiritual impact on my life there. My fathers mother was a Cherokee, maybe that was part of the connection. I spent lots of time hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, picking wild blueberries up there and taking pictures and just soaking it all in. I saw Carl Sandburg's home in Flat Rock, NC and spent a good amount of time on Table Rock. I fished in the French Broad River and watched the minor league baseball team play. I picked apples and grew organic gardens and went gold panning. It was good. I made so many good friends there...all moved there from somewhere else. Karen from NY. Dave and Jules from Florida. Marv and Joyce from Ohio. Jeff from Virginia. Debbie from Ohio. Kathleen from Colorado and K'Sitew from the Yukon.
And now I am back home. Older and greyer, maybe a little wiser. And full of the blessings of this sober life. I am on a little piece of ground that is my own, making lots of new friends in this land where I grew up as a kid. Sometimes it feels eerie being here again. Sometimes it feels just right. Back in this place where, in 1977, I swore I would never come back to. Back home.
Thomas Wolfe once wrote, "You can never go home again..." Maybe it's true. It's never the same. But in this part of the country there are lots of things that have remained unchanged, and the spirit finds its place...and settles back in, until time for the next great adventure.