She’s tracing her roots is how my husband describes it when he tells people about the trip we took last weekend, back to my beloved Southwest Virginia. And while I wasn’t thinking of it that way, exactly, I suppose it is a rather accurate description.
It was a journey long-planned, you see, one with a specific purpose. I want to stomp around in the mountains I told them to see all the places I never appreciated when growing up there. It was all too ordinary back then, this living amidst the rugged Appalachians, a mere backdrop for after-school band practice and Friday night football games. And my brother and sister-in-law thankfully said yes when I asked them to serve as our guides, Randy and Lisa Rigg, two people who know this territory well.
We’ll stay at Natural Tunnel bubbled Lisa. And we’ll start Saturday Night at the Carter Fold, in Hiltons.
My heart skipped a beat, I must tell you. I knew we were in very good hands.
Stomp, we did, for the next 36 hours. I spent much of the time in a blissful state of awe—to say those mountains wrapped and rocked me like a baby is the understatement of the 520 posts on this blog. We mapped and drove and hiked and wandered; we traced family lines and hunted down homesteads; we followed railroad tracks and trailed along great rivers and crossed tiny streams, all in search of … what? Realization? Affirmation? That the Earth is mighty. That we are all connected to it—to its mountains and valleys and rivers and plains, connected in significant and inextricable ways—just as we are connected to each other, now, and for generations spreading in every direction.
That it has been this way since the beginning of time.
It was a gigantic blessing, this knowing, a sweeping grace that settled over me then and sits with me still as I write this from my current home in the flat midlands of South Carolina. Here, now, miles and decades and generations away.
We are connected, I know, to the Earth, to each other. And I am a part of it all, a link in the great chain.
US 23 historic markers
Mighty pleased to be at the Carter Fold, just chilling in Johnny Cash’s rocker
Anderson Blockhouse view
Carter Cabin, built in 1784
window to the past
the road to Fort Blackmore
Carter Cemetery in Hunters Valley
on our expedition: Randy, Lisa, Tim and me
30 Days of Grace III