Saturday, August 23, 2008

Head for the Hills

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.



  1. I'm a city girl. If I don't have cement under my feet I am lost

  2. Oh thank goodness, someone who gets it. I keep saying I'll know home when I get there and so far everyone else looks at me like I'm insane.

  3. I am incredibly place-oriented--more than most people, I think. My whole being longs for Kentucky. I get these urges to drop everything, get in the car, and drive for home. The place where I live will never be "home" unless I'm living in Kentucky.

    I simply cannot understand those like Amarinda who claim to love the city--what is so appealing about hard, unforgiving, punishing, gray concrete?

    Here where I live, NYC and the suburbs, the vast majority of people have ways of getting out of the city. Second homes. An RV permanently parked upstate. Frequent visits to family in other states. You name it, people do it--just to get away from the city.

    Anny, your mountain is beautiful (somewhere near Bear Mountain?), and it works for me as a surrogate. But it's not Kentucky. :-)

  4. We are about 2 hours from the blue ridge. I love the mountains in the fall when the leaves change. Its the most amazing spectacle.

  5. I almost cried on the drive through PA for the RT conference because I couldn't believe how much I missed the mountains. And the plane crash story? It's a winner. Your heart shows.

  6. My favorite thing in the world. Mountains. Any mountains. I want turning leaves, brisk air and the beauty. Nope, wouldn't hike them because that's not my thing but I'd love to sit on a balcony with a cover on my legs and a cup of coffed in hand and just ABSORB. Places like this make me sigh.

  7. My favs are the Rockies:) But I've also gotta have my beach.