Coming to the Carolinas feels a bit like coming home.
Home is in the sweep of the mountains, the smell of the pine trees, the tinge of humidity, the roar of the tractors bumbling down the country roads, the buzz of the bees among the flowers basking in the warmth of the sun, and the whisper of the wind passing through the corn fields. It’s in the rural beauty, the slow pace of the people and the smiles from strangers, the city made more friendly by the drawl, and the sleepy roadside stands selling local produce.
In twenty-nine years I’ve only lived in five places and six and a half of the most recent years were spent in the Carolinas. First it was my post-college formative years in Columbia, South Carolina. There I earned a masters degree, became a wife and then learned how to live without my husband when he left for long deployments and worked endless hours. I got my first “real” job, was faced suddenly with the loss of my mother and found true friends. There I began the process of learning to let go of three years of roots when it came time to move on.
In Goldsboro I grew. In this small town I learned how to be a military spouse while at the same time becoming someone who didn’t define herself based on the military. I learned how to live with the loss of a grandmother who was mother to me. I discovered and refined my passion and talent for photography, found a church community I felt I could call home, found more friends of the heart and also lost some to the inevitable passage of time and growth in different directions. And once more I strengthened my resolve as I learned not to argue with the wisdom that it was, again, time to move on.
Those years weren’t all good. By far there were probably more bad years than better ones. But just as it is with any crossroads in life, these were the moments, and now these are memories, that help shape who I am right now.
The Carolinas have left a landmine of an impression on me. I thought we were settled in Dayton, finally, but coming back here stirs all the dust motes of the things I grew to love and, now, to miss. I spent two hours in the car today, surrounded by silence, the wind in my hair, contemplating those I’ve left behind and those friendships that didn’t survive the tumultuous lifestyle of the constantly moving, and wondering if we will ever come back here or if, like many things, this will become just a part of my past that only serves to push me forward to the future.
Enjoy this glimpse of the journey I made today that swept me along memory lane.
Pilot Mountain and the Farm Fields of Surry County