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Day 40/50 • “Future Sights Saturday”
While I’m painting and working on this project -- since February -- I imagine what I will do when it’s over. First, I’ll finish some commissions, and then I hope to go see friends and family in Alabama. I last saw Mom, Pops, and my goddaughters in December, so it’s time.
And then I keep seeing a road trip into the mountains of North Carolina. Highlands, the Smokies, the Appalachian Trail. Did you all know I worked on the AT one summer in college?
I was stationed at a little base camp in the tiny crossroads town of Sugar Grove in Southwest Virginia. The four volunteer crews (about 8-10 per crew) would spend two nights there recovering between five-day assignments scattered throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. We dug new trail and repaired existing trails, all by hand with no power tools. Felling trees, removing stumps, stacking rocks, building steps out of locust logs stripped of their bark (they harden and last a long time), leveling trail along steep hillsides -- we worked all day, jumped in occasional rivers at night, shared stories over sweat, and slept our sore muscles on the ground in tents.
It was the most exhausting, hardest work I’ve ever done, and I loved every minute of it. I even returned nineteen years later to do it again for one week -- one week, y’all -- and it kicked my ass. I was thirty-nine and those years had made a difference. That assignment was up near the mountain balds of North Carolina near the Tennessee line. The scenery was as stunning as the work was hard.
All to say I have these plus other wonderful memories of the Appalachian Mountains. So, lately when the Indigo Girls show up on my playlist, I’m taken back there. I can see those swaying trees hiding rolling views, smell the ground made of years of hemlock’s shedding.
That’s why I see this in my future. When this project is done, I want to go see my family then I want to listen to the Indigo Girls while driving north. I want to find the cool, high shade and take long, deep breaths.
What are you all looking forward to? What is the carrot that dangles in front of you, keeping you upright and moving forward?