When I drove up to Virginia yesterday, I was a little concerned about early morning ice, so I opted to take the I-77 to I-81. Today, on the drive back, I decided to take the more back road path, down through the Virginia Highlands and into East Tennessee before crossing back into North Carolina.
I had an interesting experience on the drive home. I had been in the New River Valley, which is beautiful in its own way, to be certain, but it didn’t quite have that same feel for me that I get in my new home in the mountains–that feeling of place. As I started southwest, though, and into the Highlands, I could literally feel myself relax. By the time I was driving along Laurel Creek in Tennessee, I had that distinct feeling that I was back home.
And it’s good to be home.
This evening, our town held a “Hometown Harvest”–an open invitation to the community to bring a covered dish to share at a communal dinner at the fire station, and whatever canned goods we could donate for a local food drive. I don’t think we have many more than 1,200 year-round residents in our town, so it was pretty amazing to see just how many people showed up, and just what an abundance of food we all had to share. It’s the kind of thing that I am sure happens in small towns in many places–but it was the first time my family had been to one.
And for me, at least, it was the first time I felt drawn into a close-knit community in that way. I suppose that’s what people mean when they talk about a connection to their home town. How strange to think it’s taken almost fifty years to get here!
So I will say it again: It’s good to be home.