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, mowing it, smelling it, and taking 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 that balm of 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. As I work I see a mother turkey with her young 3-inch tall 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 the 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 continue to 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 over a year ago while penning a work I hope to publish some day. Now the final paragraph has become a reality–the mountains have reclaimed me and pulled me home. I am beginning a new adventure in my life, one that begins with me on 38.2 acres of beautiful Appalachian mountainside and nothing but a set of house plans–but it will be perfect, or not so perfect one day soon. And so it begins…..