I love where I live. I can’t imagine living more than a stone’s throw from the mountains of Virginia. I grew up nestled in the Blue Ridge, and I settled less than two hours up the road, still snug in those rolling hills. I don’t hike or ski – it’s not that at all – it’s just the feeling of home. When I went to college, I lived in what was essentially a swamp. A pretty, historical, interesting swamp, but a swamp nonetheless. Flat and damp. There’s one particular turn on U.S. 460 headed toward my hometown where the Peaks of Otter suddenly appear on the horizon, and every time I drove home from school and came around that corner, my heart would lift.
I’ve seen much bigger mountains. I’ve traveled all over the American west. I know that our mountains are mere hills to many people. I don’t care. They’re old, comfortable mountains. They have a long, long history that you can just feel when you’re near them. Big, new mountains feel intimidating and claustrophobic to me. The Blue Ridge feels comforting, like it’s protecting you and hugging you at the same time. And that definitely feels like home to me.