A couple of years ago, I posted about my experience of falling in love with the mountains and my almost insatiable desire to be there. At the time I didn’t know where my life would take me – I had never lived more than 20 miles or so from the hospital in Washington, DC where I was born. But still, the mountains were calling my name. At the time, it was a dream, but about five months ago, we bought a house near the village of Webster, North Carolina, and last month, we sold our house in Maryland and moved.
This is the latest in a series of significant changes that have happened in my life in the past year. I got a new car, I got married, I moved 500 miles, and even though the lesson of my previous post was that we don’t need to go anywhere to find peace, I’m finding myself more at peace than I have been in a very long time.
I suppose this is what they mean by “mind over matter.” In my mind, I fell in love with western North Carolina on a visit almost 4 years ago. From that moment, I never really left. My mind wanted it so bad, that my body and life could do nothing else but respond and manifest what my dream had created.
After we moved here, I saw a quote painted in a storefront, and I’ve since seen it in a few other places: “The mountains are calling and I must go.” (John Muir). I don’t recall hearing or seeing this quote before last month, but somehow, it was the mantra of my soul. What I dreamed has become real, and I can’t tell you how inspiring this journey has been.
I love the city of my birth – a wonderful place that has changed a lot. After less than six weeks, I don’t miss it – not one iota. Some days, I have trouble even remembering it! True, I miss a few wonderful folks I left behind, but they’re still there and accessible.
Two weeks ago, we drove back to DC to attend a special event for which we had made plans months ago (don’t tell anyone we were there!). Before I got inside the beltway, I was starting to regret the trip. The city of my birth is no longer home for me. It is no longer the place where I grew up, and it isn’t the place I remember. I visited with wonderful friends, and had a momentous time, but I don’t remember many times in my life when I felt so happy to be headed home when the weekend was over.
Now, back in the safe cradle of the mountains, I sit here with peace in my heart and happiness filling my lungs as I breathe fresh mountain air, drink fresh water from a well, listen to the insects in the field, and cherish the chickens we just bought. This is home – the home I had been searching for and dreaming of for longer than I can remember. It’s like I’ve always been here.
The holy scriptures tell us we were created in God’s image. To me, this doesn’t mean that we were created to look or act like “Him.” I really don’t think God is a “him” at all – that’s simply our analytical human mind trying to make sense of something far too complex for us to comprehend. God is the loving, creative force that is in all things and all beings. We are the image of God because we have the power to create and discern. Everything that ever existed started with a thought.
My thoughts created my happiness and my peace. It wasn’t relocating 500 miles to the mountains that made me happy. The move simply helped me to open the door to my own truth that was there all along. It’s not that I wasn’t happy already. I don’t think we are ever far from true happiness and peace – it lives within us. But looking out the window and seeing the majestic mountains and lush greenery and flowers everywhere I look certainly doesn’t hurt!
The more significant lesson is that we remain in the present. The past doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe that’s why I’m not missing it. I still have my memories, and they will serve me well. Once they are gone, I won’t know the difference anyway! Just as importantly, we can’t get hung up over the future because it hasn’t happened yet. We only have today to make our dreams come true, and to accomplish what means most to us. If we aren’t working on it now, it isn’t getting done!
After my visit to western North Carolina almost four years ago, I wrote a poem – one of very few I have ever written – to memorialize the brilliant autumn day that unexpectedly inspired me to change my life. I shared it with a friend who grew up here, just a mile or so up the road from where I sit, and now I share it with you:
Ode to Webster
A tiny glen among the hills,
Golden cascades descending from an autumn sky,
Coaxing, beckoning from afar,
Drawing me to you o’er winds on high.
Friendly smiles, warm-hearted mem’ries,
Weave tapestries of times long past,
Blended with hues of present-day:
Imagery that will fore’er last.
You have captured me, O Webster,
Though, regretfully I depart,
Your warmth, your charm, your heritage
Remain steadfast in my heart.
— October 2010
Blessings from Webster… 🙂