We arrived at a new place,
only it wasn’t new at all.
I think I may have lived here
in another life,
Part of me was here waiting on me.
Home again, home again.
Those Autumn leaves danced around us
as we greeted each other.
October 23, 2017
Day 5 off the grid.
I woke up to the sound of rain drops dripping against Dottie’s roof. I don’t think there’s a better sound. That contact, and connection from something greater than us. A raindrop, choosing me to touch in that very moment. I’ve always thought it to be sort of romantic, even divine in a way.
And as I sat there and and sipped my coffee, the rain was all the more appropriate. It matched that bittersweet feeling inside that I’d be hitching up and leaving Persimmon shortly. That little piece of everything tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. That charming place I didn’t know existed. I left a little piece of my heart there. Dottie and I paved a trail that we’ll remember making. I couldn’t have predicted that I would feel so connected to each stop along the way. I had no idea that it would tug on my heart so hard. That somehow, in two days, we would make that little spot of land in the mountains, a home.
But Dottie reminds me, that home is where we are. And just as we know this was our home for a moment, now, on we go. Blazing another turquoise trail to find our next. It’s all the more exciting when you don’t know where you’ll land, and where home will be next.
On the way out of the park, I spoke again to Pete—the mountain man who lives on the property. He told me about his love to play the banjo. “I’d like to maybe one day make me a CD recording and see what happens!” “You absolutely should!” I replied. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s probably a legend on that thing. He said his favorite tunes to play are from
“Deliverance.” My kind of man! I told him I might head to Tallulah Falls next, (which is where they filmed a good bit of that movie), but that I might go up towards the Smoky Mountains first. He encouraged me to head up that way to the mountains. With it being such a dry year, the leaves are turning a little quicker, and “You don’t want to miss Foliage in the Smokies!” Of course, I listened to his advice. Pete the Mountain Man wouldn’t steer me wrong.
He asked to take my picture with Dottie. “I just love pictures! They’re memories you can hold, and you just can’t beat that!” I smiled so big because I couldn’t agree more. And off we went. I’m going to miss Pete and his authenticity. He’s exactly who he is, and he knows it. He’s kind, conversational, sharp, and unique. He has something important to say, but he knows when to listen. Those are some of my favorite qualities in people.
We headed up the highway towards Cherokee, North Carolina. We hadn’t gone too far, and yet again, I found myself cruising through the most scenic mountain town I ever did see. Those autumn leaves hovering over the great river, and a railroad running along the road the whole way. So many curves and swerves on that long and winding road.
You’re forced to drive slow, and I wasn’t complaining. It was incredible timing as I rounded a curve, and saw the Great Smoky Mountains train pull around the corner right next to the river, orange and auburn leaves swirling through the air behind it’s path like confetti. I melted. Every glimpse was a perfect snapshot of Fall in the Smokies. I saw a sign for camping, and cut a hard right. I just had to stay here! It wasn’t on the plans, but this town was just too picturesque to pass.
As I drove up that mountain and took in the view, I felt like a mix between Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and a mountain woman version of Huckleberry Finn. I felt like I was home. I felt like maybe I had lived here in another life. Like part of me was here, waiting for me to arrive.
I made it up that winding mountain and checked into the Nantahala Tiny Home and RV Park. This “RV Park,” is a strip of land that wrapped around a flowing creek on the foot of a mountain. There aren’t any bathrooms, no nothing. Just complete, secluded mountain serenity. It’s remote, it’s quiet, it’s scenic, it’s perfect. There’s only one other person here. I backed in, and that was me “checking in.” I felt like even more of that mountain woman as I stepped out of my Jeep. My eyes panned up from that fast flowing water, all the way up to the highest high of that mountain. The Fall colors burst through me and lit a fire of excitement and content.
I heard my mind say to my heart, “Oh hi Haven.” and I was home again.