Monday, November 7, 2016

The Voice of the Mountains

I am a beach girl. A water baby. I grew up with a swimming pool and parents who loved going to Florida or South Carolina. There are pictures of me in the water at less than a year old (with my shoes on but still, I'm in the water). If you gave me one choice of scenery for the rest of my days I'd choose the sea.

But there's something about the mountains.



After the stress of Hurricane Matthew, I repacked my suitcase and went to the Southeast Wise Woman's Herb Conference with some ladies from work. It was delicious. Time in the mountains is something I've not had for years. I'm not one for women's groups. I shy away from "girl's night out". I always have. I was terrified to go into the woods with a whole slew of women, most I didn't know. But it was illuminating.

I learned so much from the lectures, so much to take home and digest. I'm still processing the information, still recopying my notes so I can fully grasp their wisdom. An entire lecture was directed to those of us with auto-immune diseases and I think I was the teacher's poster child for her talk.

But it wasn't just the learning. It wasn't just discovering that large groups of women aren't (too) terrifying.

It was listening to the voice of the mountains and coming away with my heart full of story.



My current WIP is set deep in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains. The foothills of Appalachia so to speak. I grew up going to those mountains and I cut my teeth on the Foxfire Books, especially volume 2 and its entire section devoted to "Boogers, Witches and Haints". Legends of the mountains.

The mountains are mystery. They call to a deep, wildness in me. This time they whispered of herbal folklore, old magic, and the depth my story is calling me to. A depth I have been avoiding.

I'm thankful for those few days and for discovering that the mountains still speak to me. I may crave the hypnotic undulations of the Atlantic, but there's a deep place rooted in Appalachia. A deep place that I must now sink my roots deep into and allow to drink in great, mud filled gulps. Stories lie buried in those hills and I'm honored to be a part of that root-system.



Thoughts for the week:
What landscape speaks to you? Where do you prefer to be? What calls you home? Have you ever felt rooted to a land that wasn't, necessarily, your own? Do you believe there are stories in the land beneath our feet?

Speak up! I really do want to know :)


13 comments:

  1. It sounds like a lovely experience! I am drawn to the sea, the shore - all of me relaxes at the sound and the sight of the waves. I do want to take a trip to the mountains one of these days, though, just for something different.

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    1. It was much needed. The sea calls to me and I am always inspired, whether I'm in the water or bundled up on the sand in January! The mountains, though, hold a fascination and I always feel as if I listen hard enough, or if I just knew in which direction to listen to, I'd hear some amazing tales.

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  2. Sounds like a great outing. You survived and then some.
    From the picture, I'd say the mountain fits you. There are always mountain streams and lakes to swim in.
    And I am definitely a mountain person. Give me cold and snow.

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    1. It really was a wonderful experience. I'm hoping I get to go next year.

      Thank you. It's been years since I visited the mountains. Brr...I like to see snow and cold is OK until after January and then I need my 90* temperatures back!

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  3. I've always been drawn to the craggy cliffs along the ocean in the northeastern part of the US, usually depicted in oil paintings. Crashing surf, gray skies, sea storms inspire me. Your mountain experience sounds wonderful!

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    1. Oh I love those pictures of rocky shorelines! We don't have those here in Georgia. Our beaches are grey sand strewn with broken shells. But there's a mystery here that I love.

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  4. I miss my mountains sometimes. I grew up in the foothills of the mountains, and they were a strength and protection. Now, living in Florida, I like the beaches enough, but I still miss my mountains.

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    1. That's what always calls me back to the mountains: the protection they offer. Even the sense of being watched, of belonging to a long forgotten past or of being assimilated into a dark corner makes me feel protected.

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  5. I always tell people I need two homes- one at the beach and one here at home in the hills. Appalachian roots run deep and strong.

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    1. Oh how I agree! I thought I'd shed the mountains when I moves to the beach but they are a part of me and always will be.

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  6. I'm a beach girl too. It's my go to spot. I'm eternally filled with gratitude that my hubby's job landed us so close to the coast. Happy to hear you had a wonderful time at your conference. The mountains are beautiful!

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    1. Yes! There's a magic at the beach that is unique and deep rooted. I'm happy you've found your "happy place"!

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful restorative retreat that gently stretched as well. And how delightful you can now claim both beaches and the mountains as deep soul whisperers. I think I'm happiest in gardens, amidst the flowers and the bees and the butterflies.

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