Mountain Mother

lake-tomahawk

The mountains are our mother, ever fixed and strict. She teaches us the hard lessons, the pain of birth and death. She makes us earn the roof over our head and the food in our belly through the sweat and blood of a hard days work. She teaches us the unfairness of life by the crop destroying heavy rains and drought.

She sings us to sleep with her gentle winds and distant calls of whipporwhills. She teaches us gratitude when we can sit in the porch rocker at the end of the day and simply be. She teaches us to persevere just as the tiny creeks flow and carve out deeper trenches through the ancient rock that is her foundation.

She gives us rich soil and woods full of herbs to heal what is broken. And when all hope is lost, she reminds you to turn to the Creator of it all.

We grow up saying we can’t wait to get out from under her watchful eye and her scolding switch. When we leave, we find nothing can bring us comfort like she gave. And so, we return. No longer taking for granted her little joys and lessons we once would have scoffed or overlooked.

Those who leave and never return were never hers to begin with. Not truly, for those of us who go back through all our generations know this where our blood started and this is where it will someday end. We will one day feed her with our blood and bones just as she has fed us.

She is our mountain mother who has watched over us with her bowed back and worn hands. She has sacrificed for us, she has let us tear the coal from her body and the trees from her dress so we could live. And as any mother, she loves us, she holds us tightly to her protective breast and when we leave, she lets us know we will always have a home back here with her.

 

Quick trip to Hot Springs

hot springs

The snow nearly did me in, I nearly gave up on ever getting out. Valentine’s Day weekend Josh had planned a short getaway to Hot Springs, NC, one of our favorite little places. Of course once we learned of the dreaded snow coming our way we decided it was best to reschedule. Thankfully the inn where we had reservations was very understanding and moved our spot to this past Sunday. We figured surely two weeks away was plenty of time to get past the icky weather.

So as the days passed we realized we were still very stuck up here on our mountain. The only option on a possible way out was to start digging. Keep in mind we still had well over a foot of snow covering at least half of our quarter mile long driveway. Not only that but our driveway is pretty steep in places so while shoveling downhill isn’t so bad you do have to walk your tired self back to the top.

The first day we decided to see what we could get done I was very optimistic. The second day I was still determined, until the car got stuck, then refused to crank. The third day, the day we were supposed to be leaving, I looked out at the driveway and all the snow that was left and I felt defeated. I agreed to try anyway even though my muscles ached from the days of work before. I couldn’t see how we could clear enough to get out and if we couldn’t get out we had put in all this work for nothing. Then as I shoveled I got angry and imagined throwing breakables at a wall. Of course I also told myself how ridiculous that would be since I would only have to clean it up later. A few seconds after that I was nearly in tears, a combination of exhaustion, frustration and PMS. I was done. Josh finished up the last bit of shoveling and we came in for a break. After a while he decided to see how far the car could make it and I went to take a shower. I wasn’t very hopeful at that point. I got out of the shower and had a text to pack my things, the car was off the hill.

We stayed at the Iron Horse Station in Hot Springs. It is an gorgeous old building with a restaurant on the first floor and an inn on the top. The whole building is charming and has been beautifully maintained. The inn is very simple but so charming. The halls are lined with antique furniture and quilts decorate the exposed brick walls. The room was small and basic (no phone or tv) but the sheets and bedding were excellent quality and were very lovely. The restaurant served some of the best food I’ve had in ages and everyone in the town is so friendly. After dinner we walked across the railroad tracks to the Hot Springs resort for a nighttime soak. The tubs are covered but are outdoors, we followed the path of lanterns to a fire pit where we sat while our tub was filled. The smell of the wood smoke, the hot water, the cool air on the walk back, it was all perfect! And so very needed after what we went through to get there.

The next morning we stopped in a couple of the small shops in town. Hot springs is a very small town and most businesses are in walking distance. The hardware store has just about anything you could want, and next door is a small store that carries outdoor clothing, natural groceries and books by local authors. It’s my dream town. I would move there in a second!

After we left we drove into Marshall, NC which is only about twenty minutes down the road. Marshall is another adorable little town with cute shops. Last time we were there we stumbled upon a coffee shop called Zuma that we really enjoyed, so we had a late breakfast there again we weren’t disappointed.

North Carolina has such a great energy, the people seem happier and appear to invest more in themselves and their community. I hope to spend more time there as often as possible.  We had a wonderful trip it was worth the effort of getting off the driveway and even the walk back up the driveway when we got home.