One of the perks of living in Asheville — a big one, really — is the opportunity to escape to the mountains anytime I please.
Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania and then eastern Georgia, I never knew about daily life with mountains. My vision and expectations always encompassed a flat horizon preceded by fields and trees.
When I moved to California, I might as well have switched from black-and-white to HD color. I didn’t know people could live next to mountains and water and city skyline. I’d take countless drives out there and just stare at the mountainous horizon the whole time, lost in my head and marveling all the while how I got there.
The mountains comforted me. They protected me from the flat, lifeless beyond, and they challenged me to pursue them deeper. To explore and wander and, as needed, escape. The mountains reminded me there was always more to discover.
Now living in Asheville in the heart of the Blue Ridge, I don’t know that I could ever go back to a mountainless horizon. Despite the challenges of starting over in a new place, it’s been oddly comforting to see a mountainous horizon start with bare branches, then grow leafy and green, then shade to orange and yellow, and now start to turn naked again.
I take monthly or bimonthly escapes onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, and going up there last night was particularly startling: long sleeves, coat, knitted cap, scarf, and mountains and valleys whose once vibrant colors have been sapped.
Gone are the greens. Gone are the yellows. Gone are the signs of summer and autumn as brown and gray reclaim the landscape.
And yet look to the horizon where the blue still remains. The seasons come and go here, and the Blue Ridge refuses to lose her trademark splendor, persisting through the late autumn and winter until the greens return and the heat collects in her hills, her haunting curves of blue anchoring us, comforting us, beckoning us.
Go to the hills, I hear when I’m lost.
Go to the hills, I feel when I’m lonely.
Go to the hills, I say when I’m sad.
Go to the hills. It’s why God painted them into the hue of this blue horizon.
This is Day 6 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.