I was already several miles into the hills before I realized where I was. When I did, I looked around me with a reverence typically reserved for the pew.
The Blue Mountains were far from blue. I’m used to the slate gray of winter permeating everything in December, but in North Carolina autumn still reigned. The trees wore their silken gowns of fire, brilliant in hues of reds and oranges, with the occasional underskirt of yellow-green chiffon peeking through the folds of flames.
The mountains lacked the austere cliffs and peaks of the Cascades I’ve called home. Time had worn down the majestic mountains into gentle rolls and ravines. The sun had made its way down past the horizon, but its long fingers still caressed the sky, painting the blue expanse the same warm colors as the hills. Clouds clung to the tops of the hills, like young children to their mothers, only reluctantly pulled away from the earth by the passing breeze.
It was like I had left the world of humans and worries behind, and I had come into a place where the seasons lived, where the mountains breathed and the spirits of the trees danced with the wind.
For the first time that day, my frantic drive felt less like I was fleeing my past and more like I was going toward a new beginning.