For me, going to the mountains has always felt like going home. My heart and my soul just work a little easier when my body is breathing in the fresh, mountain air. My mind eases it’s racing and my lungs exhale a little deeper.
I consider myself wholly blessed to have been able to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for four years of my young adult life. I attended Appalachian State University, just a stone’s throw away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain, in Boone, North Carolina. I’d gaze up to the tops of the surrounding mountain peaks as I walked to my classes and I’d sled down many a hill when the snow kept classes from being held.
Everything just seems to be a little clearer, easier even, when on mountain time.
A few weeks ago over Labor Day weekend, this special sense of relaxation found me just in time; amid a sea of assignment due dates and a million back to school tasks for my classroom. This choice was my own, to be both a teacher and a student, but the hustle and bustle of this season still takes me by surprise two years in. A year of pursuing a master’s degree in social media marketing followed by my choice to pursue a much better suited career as a child life specialist. Two years of wearing two hats at once. For most teachers, back to school season means long hours preparing for your new class but when you’ve got end of semester papers out the wazoo it all gets overwhelming very quickly. I become chained to my laptop and burdened by the hands on the clock that still have not found a way to slow down to let me get more done. I worked on my eight page paper right up to the hour before we hopped in the car to leave, hitting submit with a sigh of relief so that I could go and throw some clothes in a bag. As we inched closer to our destination, I mentally prepared myself to disconnect. The second we turn off of Interstate 77, our cell signal and access to the outside world disappears. And on this particular day, my entire being exhaled.