My favorite place to be late on a Summer afternoon is out on the screen porch of the place where I currently live. Being close to Nature-watching the birds at the feeder, and the foxes as they cross the yard hunting for food, and the squirrels playing is one of the many small things that make living here bearable for me now. Nothing, as they say, lasts forever. I am standing at the door of change, eager to cross the threshold.
Life in North Carolina has been extraordinary. I've never felt quite so at home as I do here. I realize that may have everything to do with living in the South. I was born in South Carolina, but raised in the North. All of the schools I attended-save for one- were Northern schools ( seminary was distance learning from a university in Chattanooga, Tennessee). When I was younger, I liked the never-ending barrage of sights and sounds that are the hallmark of large cities. It really is true that New York City never sleeps; when I was a student, I appreciated finding a place for coffee and a bite to eat at two a.m and interesting characters to talk with. But I am older now, and while the occasional foray into the night in search of coffee and pie in the wee hours of the morning is still stimulating, I prefer the inky blackness of a still night so I can think if I'm writing, or as a blessed blanket for sleep.
When I moved to North Carolina (after 40 years in the Northeast Atlantic seaboard) I instantly fell in love with the city of Raleigh-it has everything, at the slower pace I was looking for at the time, but not so far out of downtown that I lost touch with a progressive lifestyle. Friends were made easily, and I found a spiritual community where I could minister and be of service. It's a beautiful state to visit and vacation in, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the people (well, most of them), but the backward politics of the conservative legislature and the over-the-top clamoring of aging hippies circa 1960s protesting everything gives me a slightly sick feeling and has really thrown a damper on my enthusiasm. It's all just so much of a waste of the precious energy I need to conserve nowadays.
This has lead me to once again to look outside of my comfort zone for a place of contentment and ease.In the last month I've been looking at a small mountain community in Virginia about two hundred miles slightly northwest, and the prospect of this place becoming my next new home is good. In my secret heart of hearts, I have always envisioned myself in Norman Rockwell's version of a small town. There is a part of my heart dedicated to apple pie and Americana, and I'd like that experience while I can still enjoy it. I'll let you know how that goes when I get back.