Beth Meadows

My Mountains

"Knoxville", "hiking", "inspiration", "mountains", "outdoors", "south"BComment
Today, I feel a strong pull to be in the mountains, more severe than the usual beckoning. Work keeps me away, so I went on a walk instead, across the bridge that runs over the interstate exit by my apartment. Looking beyond the pavement, cars, and buildings, far off in the distance, I can see the Smoky Mountains. Well, not today, because it's hazy, but I imagined them there, and wondered why they were speaking so loudly today.

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.

It's not just any mountains that call, but the Smoky Mountains- soft, unintimidating, and welcoming from afar. Challenging and life-altering in their midst.

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.