This summer a year after beginning this work I returned yet again to that place I call home. I walked again on that hillside of timothy grass and took the time to closely inspect the tips of the stems and their colors.
Another year of working with patients and in the hospital and emergency department settings has gone by. I am here again weary and seeking comfort and mountain top peace. Very, very little has changed since my last trip here. The hillside is still so very quiet-only the wind and animal sounds are heard. As I work I see a mother turkey with her young babies scurrying behind her through the high grass walking to an area of tall pines with a soft carpet of pine needles to walk on.
As I look around I see so very much that has not changed and yet I realize that I have in growth spurred by time and those experiences, memories, and people I have brought back once again to this hillside with me. It became a very powerful sensation of both permanence and change as I stood there watching the hillside grasses blow in the wind.
Warm weather and generous rainfall bring these grasses to their maturity every year. Day after day they bend and wave in the winds, their tuffs now in early summer a golden color with only small hints of the bronze they will attain in early fall. I look across the hillsides and valleys that spread out from where I stand and wonder.
There is something very special in this realization for me. This rural mountainside pasture seems so unchanging in this specific moment in time. And yet I know that if we don’t work and care for it the nature of the Appalachians and the woodlands would slowly reclaim it for its own. I hope someday they will also reclaim me.
I wrote this post now 3 years ago now. And just this week I stood on that same ridge and took in the peace and serenity that an empty mountaintop can give you. I am still bringing my memories, my experiences with patients and my growing love of these mountains here with me. And 3 years later they have reclaimed me.
These mountains continue to seem unchanging and we continue to care for them. I continue on this journey with my roots only growing deeper in this place that has pulled me home.