Walking the Path

One week after selling Lady Blue, it’s easy to remember my first winter here on Fork Mountain—a winter filled with hiking groceries in, hiking trash out, and obsessively checking the springs to see if they thawed. This bro-bra aspect of mountain living will make for good storytelling one day, but I have to say it’s walking up the mountain late at night that feels the most poignant to me now.
[Final ascent to the house, early winter 2007]
I know the road by heart even on a new moon night. I know it through sleet and fog. I know it especially in well in snow. I always curse the first big bend for its wheel-sized divet on the east side, but by the time I traipse up the third slope I’ve found my stride and forgotten the weight of whatever load I’m carrying. The final slope faces south and affords an excellent view of the Black Mountain range (a spur of the Blue Ridge where my parents live) in wintertime.
I like to think that this opportunity to come full circle before I leave is a reminder that we may walk the same path more than once, but we never have the same view. I like to think, also, that the slowing-down required by such a trek is further reminder to take it all in—no matter the time of day, the wind and weather, or the weight on my back. Annie Dillard said it best when she wrote, “Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

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