I love the mountains. When I saw this picture, it grabbed me because I, too, have stood out on the edge of a rocky parapet and looked out over the land. About fifteen years ago, I climbed a mountain similar to this every weekend and stood up there all alone just breathing. That was my get-away-from-the-chaos hike. I carried a backpack loaded with lunch, first aid kit, duct tape, and a book. Had a handy hiking staff about five feet long. And away I went. The hike was seven miles long--up one end of the mountain, halfway across, and then back down.
My current work in progress is set in exactly this type of terrain. It's about a plane crash in the mountains. Though I keep pictures around, I really don't have to use them because this is home. I believe that everyone has a place that speaks to the heart. For some it might be a city. For others it's a beach or lake. For me, it's the mountains in the northeastern United States. I've been to other mountains. Big ones, little ones. But the first time we drove through the mountains in upstate New York it was like taking an arrow to the heart. I can't explain the way I felt. I just know that I couldn't seem to see enough, fast enough to satisfy my soul.
We lived there for nearly twenty years. Repeatedly over those years, I encountered flashes of deja vu as I lived, played, worked and traveled in the area. Some places brought a terrible sense of grief. In others there was a giddy sense of exhilaration. But always, I was home.
We haven't lived there for nearly six years now. I miss the mountains. No, I don't miss the towns or traffic or taxes. But I do miss the highs and lows. I miss the hills.