Friday, January 29, 2021

A Mountain Visit

I’m writing from the mountains of Virginia. I drove to my hometown to help my sister who recently had surgery. Mountain vistas relax me. I somehow feel more serene once I pass Birmingham and enter the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. My tranquility is an involuntary feeling, like reconnecting with an old friend. 

If I’m being logical, I’m not sure I would move back to the Virginia mountains even if the perfect opportunity arose. I love Louisiana. I appreciate the joie de vie of Louisianans. I cherish the diversity of people who live in Louisiana. I love the festivals, the food, the musical heritage, all my friends, and Mardi Gras—and I’ve grown accustomed to warm winters. During the COVID year of 2020, I even learned to embrace the torrid heat of our summers! 

Moreover, there is no getting around the fact that winter in Appalachia can be bleak—whole mountain sides with bare stick trees, brown foliage on bushes. The green of the evergreens can’t quite overcome the surrounding drabness. Add in the chill winds and lackluster sun—it’s still dark at 7:00 am in my hometown--and you begin to understand why I welcome snow when I’m here. Snow covers the ground, makes graceful folds of the hills and valleys, and sits on each branch and twig making them photograph ready. 

I’ve been visiting my sister for a little over a week, and finally we got snow! A moderate amount, about 4”—enough to cover up all the grass and turn tree limbs into pictures of perfection. I quickly move from window to window taking photographs, but did I go outside to frolic in the snow? The answer is no. Living in the Deep South for over 30 years, I don’t own much snow gear, e.g., warm slacks, sweaters, snow boots. At least that’s my excuse.
Snow in the Lamp Light
Room with a View
Pristine Backyard
Another Backyard View
My caregiver role assisting Beth post-surgery was to follow her around telling her not to do things that the doctor told her to avoid: “Don’t lift that potted plant.” “Don’t reach up in the cabinet to get that down.” “Don’t unload the dishwasher.” “You’re not supposed to do laundry.” 

When middle sister Susan arrived, a week after Beth’s surgery, she said, “Beth acts like she’s already well. There’s nothing for me to do.” The three of us pitch in to cook the meals, Susan and I try to make Beth observe social distancing with her friends who bring her food and flowers. Today we three sisters sat and admired the snow from inside Beth’s warm house. When Beth’s husband arrived home from work, we tried to convince him that we had been busy all day.
Three Sisters
(I'm the oldest sister, this is probably how the other two feel)
Can your heart belong to multiple geographic locations? Certainly mine does. I will enjoy my visit to my mountain hometown for a few more days, then I head south to my other home. I love the Appalachian Mountains, but Louisiana’s unique ambiance has cast its spell on me and won’t let me go.


  1. The snow pics are lovely! I'm glad you were able to spend time with your sisters, helping out and having fun with the whole sister camaraderie thing. Love the little "cranky" and "Annoying My Sister" bits at the end. Yes, you can love two geographic locations and have two "home" places in your heart. :)

    1. They got more snow there last night. My sister texted a picture of a very perky snow "woman." I've been missing Virginia since I got back. I think because life seemed more normal there, they have a bigger bubble.

  2. I’m new to your blog and felt a little strange commenting on both this post and the later one above because they are so personal. But you make it easy to feel as if I know you as a blog friend already! I hope your sister is really all well by now (taking note of the date this was written) and I hope you are home in time to enjoy YardiGras in your beautiful Shreveport. .... we loved Louisiana in our traveling days and I totally understand how you have made it your hearts home.

    1. Sallie, I just found your comment in comment jail awaiting release. Thanks so much for reading this and taking the time to comment. My little sister is great, no additional treatment is needed, and she has the cute figure that is a lagniappe of her situation. She hosted a picnic and pickle ball tournament for Memorial Day. Thank for asking! Sorry I didn't see this. I didn't know to look at this tab.