Place Where You Live:

Asheville, North Carolina

Black Balsam Knob, North Carolina

I was not born here. At the peak of my young adult frenzy, I belonged to the outrageous mountain-meets-sea-scape of the Pacific Northwest. And, in my childhood, muddy rivers and Midwestern prairies fringed my suburban existence. But now the muted, primal Blue Ridge fills me with a sense of place.

In winter, the undulating surface of these endless hills is visible for miles through the waiting trees. Last season’s leaves blanket what is yet to come. The sun battles the gray. The occasional cardinal splashes a blur of color.

Peach-fuzz buds and hyper-green leaves arrive quickly in spring. Peepers announce the season of beginnings. Blossoms ring on the tongue: trillium, Oconee bell, rue anemone, Liriodendron tulipifera. Rhododendrons, some older than me, defy gravity and cliché as their blooms crowd out winter’s uncertainty.

The first fireflies offer a hint of summer’s drama. Soon, they share the night with crazed cicadas and katydids. Craggy balds teem with berries tangled amongst the scrub. Butterflies alight on towering purple racemes. Rolling knolls fade into the hazy blue in all directions, and thunderheads threaten overhead.

In autumn, my home is its own brand of grandeur—each year offers a new chance to rival the last. The crisp air and fiery hills are a drug that I must wait all year to indulge. Leaves crunch underfoot. When the last red and orange leaves flutter on a few privileged trees, I cling to the beauty of my favorite season.

In my third year here, I build memories while comparisons to old homes fade. The unspoken history of the Blue Ridge offers solace. I am among many that have grown old here.