At about this point every summer of my life, I start dreaming of getting away from the hot Texas sun and my hectic job for a place that is cooler and calmer. And for almost every summer of my life, that place has been the North Carolina mountains. As a child, moving from city to city following my father’s medical education and career, the family ties in the Blue Ridge helped me feel connected to people and a place. When I am there, I sense the spiritual power of community, rest, and the renewable baptism of jumping in an ice cold lake.
My mother came to visit me in Texas earlier this summer, and during her stay she asked some of us where we’d want to travel if we could go anywhere in the world. I searched my mind, but North Carolina was the only place I wanted to be. It is so full of good memories and has played such a huge role in making me who I am. It is family, tradition, creativity, love, connection, and blessing. It is one place that will always be home to me.
This summer, I am not able to make that annual pilgrimage. I’ll be working until the last week before school starts and won’t get the chance to dash off for a peek of those beautiful peaks or a walk through a tunnel of trees or a late night on a back porch full of friends.
For now, those mountains will have to be in my dreams. And they are.