Looking for a sign

It’s difficult to write when it’s hot. All you can focus on is how stifling you feel. That’s how Caribou is at the moment. Because the weather is kind of temperate, and the place is old, no one messes with the AC. Oh well. I finished submitting my time sheets and I’m heading out for the day.

Last weekend was pretty dismal for me. I was lonely, and depressed. Missing my mom, my family, familiarity in general… I drove up to the top of Mount Pisgah all alone to think about things and ended up sitting there eating my amazing French Onion Soup (go get some) and crying the whole time.

I sat out in the rocking chairs over looking the blue rolling mountains and asked for some sort of sign that I was on the right path. That I’m doing the right thing.

Well flash forward to this week… Dream of dreams came true and I found myself scheduled to work on top of Mount Mitchell. My absolute favorite place ever. It’s partially nostalgic, and partially sheer majesty… I commented to my crew mates that it would be a dream come true to be able to work seasonally at the Mitchell Park.

Our project partner wanted us all to appreciate the work we were doing so he wanted everyone to hike up to the summit for a good view of everything. Because of my pace, I wound up hiking to the top alone, which is fine for me. As I turn one of the corners, there carved into the sand is the word MOM with a heart around it.

I stood there for a moment, staring at the message from the universe with a smile on my face. Thanks for the reassurance… I kind of needed it.

Coming home

Things I have relearned on this trip.  

My son is super easily amused. He found a rock. It is now his pet rock and he’s teaching it tricks. (Its name is Bob) 

Twinkies are gross. Like the texture is fine, but the cake and filling are so sickeningly sweet I don’t know how people eat them. 

It takes a long time to fill an air mattress. 

I’m thankful for an electric air pump. (But it still takes a long freaking time) 

The wind… is cold. Stand in 20 degree weather in the sun, and you’re fine. Let that wind blow through you and you’ll wish you were still safely tucked away in your mother’s uterus. 

A change of socks can change your whole outlook and give you more energy. 

Sometimes, nostalgia IS as good as you remember it. 

Going down is a LOT easier than going up. 

Be sure to bring yummy snacks for hiking lunches. Picnics are great. 

If you need a helping hand in the Appalachia, the rhodedendron will be there. Respect the plants and they’ll respect you. 

Attaining a long lived dream is amazing, but even better when you can share it with people you love. 

 At the top of Curtis Creek is a waterfall. You can only see this fall from the top of the road. I decided long ago that I wanted a different photo. One of the falls up close. So that’s what we set out to do. 

The Whirlwind

We often compare my Aunt Bea to a whirlwind. Not a tornado or something destructive, but like the little dust that will spin you around and leave you breathless.

She is a kind lady, and extremely transparent. There is not a malicious or duplicitous bone in her body. She’s the short of sweet little woman that you never truly think of existing in the real world. She’s the background character in a book who lives the quiet little life with her story book family.

This isn’t too say that my cousins have made her life easy, far from it. But nothing ever seems to get her down for long.

She’ll call you, regale you with every thing currently going on, wish you well and off she goes. There is no relaxing or spending time with her. But once you accept that, she’s a fun lady to be around.

I enjoyed visiting with her today…and then was ushered out of her house in her usual fashion.

That Moment

When the florescent bulb finally buzzes to life above your head. It took forever and no matter how many times you tried… it just wouldn’t light.You thought you’d tried every connection… when at last…

And then you can’t tear yourself away.

Trapped at the keyboard for hours. Ideas pouring out of your head.

I knew I was trying to cram too much into one book, or even two. It took the focus off of the main characters. You’re not supposed to have just a story with people in it, your characters are supposed to carry the story, and I lost track of my characters. Of my original idea.

I’ve broken everything down into a short story series. Fifteen novellas in total which will revolve around a group of youthful supernatural enthusiasts. They’re going to inherit the world anyway, they might as well step up when it comes time to save it – right?

I have the two over-arching plots in place and the chapters outlined for six of the books. I even had to go ahead and throw in one of the scenes I’d been thinking about previously. But now it’s late… and I have work in the morning… And currently – still a job to go to in the morning. I won’t complain about that. Fingers crossed for a easy enough day to spare my mental facilities for the evening.

Best Friends

When I was younger, I was never really good at making friends. The kids at school were boring and unimaginative. Playing with Barbies consisted of “Ooh why I love your dress, let’s comb your hair.” Girls were mind numbingly dull. But at least the boys I knew enjoyed adventure. 

My mom wasn’t one to to let me have friends over. That meant meeting and communicating with people she’d never met before. What I did have however, were two god-brothers. My parents and theirs had been friends for years. Chris was four years older and Mikey was only 2. 

We played together since I was old enough to crawl. I played cops and robbers, masters of the universe, and in turn they would even play My Little Pony with me. Never combing of hair, more like search and rescue and daring adventure. 

The boys would spend every summer with us. Sometimes it was just at home. Though often we would venture into the Blue Ridge Mountains with Old Red Socks. We trekked over Mount Mitchell and Pisgah and Craggy Gardens. Every weekend night we’d spend on Curtis Creek spearing crawfish, fishing, and generally getting dirty. 

As time goes, families grow apart, children grow up, and people move on. But the memories you gain in between are enough to last a lifetime. 

I still talk to Mikey from time to time. He is married with two beautiful children (including a son that looks EXACTLY like him). 

I think some of the best times I ever had with mom was when we lived in North Carolina. I would usually get a day off in the middle of the week since I worked retail. Iwona would be working, Dustin was in school, and we’d take the day and explore the mountains.

We’d start with breakfast out. Usually at the Denny’s in Black Mountain. We’d both order a coffee and sit and talk. Usually just sit. Neither of us were big conversationalists. We just enjoyed each other’s company. 

I’d slowly stir the cream into my coffee, watching the swirls make intricate designs. We’d plan out the day before beginning or adventure.

The fall was always the best. We’d tackle the Blue Ridge armed with a camera and her little red Plymouth Sundance. That car loved the mountains as much as we did. It carried us overy hill tops and dirt roads enough times to fill a book. Maybe one day it will. 

Curtis Creek

I may have blogged about Curtis Creek in the past. It’s fine if I did. It’s a great place and worthy of multiple mention.

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t read that post… I was adopted. It was set up before I was born. I guess my due date must have been toward the middle of July because my mom and Old Red Socks decided to take short vacation before I came along.

Dad packed up their R.V. and took off to his favorite haunt. An old logging/hunting/fishing road just off of US 70 in Old Fort. About six miles up the road from when you turn is a small bridge that crosses over this babbling creek. They parked in the little stretch and prepared to camp. They weren’t able to enjoy their trip for very long. A messenger was sent to find them. I was born on July 2nd and the messenger tracked down my parents on July 4th. At least in the time of no cell phones, they were predictable.

There were a couple of places that we always visited on summer days and weekends. Curtis Creek was at the top of the list.

If you drive down this road now, there is a beautiful little campground set up for r.v. and tent camping. $5 a night complete with bathrooms and picnic tables. If you continue up the road from the campground there are other little spots along the road that make for some good camping. Little pull offs. Park your car, have a campfire, set up a tent.

Make sure to bring your fishing pole and license. The stream is FULL of rainbow trout and crawfish. When I find the pictures I have of it, I’ll be sure to put them up.