It's getting hotter. I walk outside and feel the symptoms of summer approaching, the constant dampness of certain areas of my clothing, the feeling of dirty hands- swollen and salty- personal attributes I have to accept for many months ahead.
Looking out from the city, I realize the mountains' allure is stronger when the seasons change.
Summer in the mountains means a cold but refreshing river and possibly a yellow tube. Lush green grass and trees. A soft path for miles upon miles.
It means other things, too. Bugs. The fear of snakes. A mixture of sunscreen and sweat in my eyes.
It's all meant to be taken in tangibly- good and bad.
And there's not just any road to get me there, but the one through Townsend, past the Alcoa plant, the Drive-In in Maryville, the flea markets and antique shops scattered along the way, the boiled peanut man, the winding two-lane road through the smaller hills that opens up into that calm and peaceful valley- my favorite doorway to the Smokies.
I'm going soon, to properly welcome this looming southern summer.