There’s something about being slightly sleep deprived, running on 3 hours of sleep and more coffee than should be legal, that makes things start to feel like something out of a Tolkien story. Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, you guys are fantastic for foggy days in the mountains and I think one day i’m going to spend a good chunk of time exploring all your roads, dips and curves, elevations and secret woodland hideouts.
I know most people who have never been to these states write them off as lacking much interest but…. there is such natural beauty here, in and out of the mountains. In the same way that people focus on the disasters than can happen in Kansas but forget the way the rolling plains can swallow your heart whole, I think most people forget these states on the eastern, southern side of the USA and the fantastical beauty that can be found here. Perhaps there isn’t the majestic wonder you can find in the Rockies, or the wanderlust that can trap you in the highways of California, but there IS something here, an unexpected wild freedom that pops stars in your eyes something fierce.
In these lands, the fog moves over slowly, stealthy fingers across the landscape and you barely notice till the view you were observing has been utterly obscured and all your eyes can make out are curving tree tops and the peaks of mountains in the distance, but the view will come again, and again and again, if you have a heart for patience and a love for landscapes that are ever changing.
I took to the streets around my home to capture the not so ordinary weather going on, and to enjoy the sort of desolate calm that comes when everyone is indoors, most stores are closed, and the only people out and about are the slightly off kilter folk who enjoy the cold in their bones.
When I used to live in California I was about an hours drive outside of San Francisco, in a sleepy little suburb that could only be accessed by side roads, one of which was always continuously blocked by tractors and/or curious wandering cows. To say San Francisco was an escape would be putting it mildly, especially for a girl who was raised in New York City’s never dying lights and had the matching attitude. But as much as I loved the hustle and clamor of being in the city itself, as much as I could adore the uniqueness of the city’s own brand of architecture and beauty, my favorite place was always the piers.
Nevermind the endless stream of tourists, or the wickedly overpriced food, or god, even the insanely suicidal pigeons and outright thuggish seagulls who would harass you for just a teensy bite of that aforementioned expensive food, it all couldn’t lessen my love for the creaking of wooden planks under my feet, the smell of ocean mixed with sweet candy-ice cream- donuts and yumtastic things galore. I started going at first with my mom, when she would have a Saturday off from work (or a memorable time when she let me skip school on a week day) and even though at home it was the kind of battlefield that burns scars for life, we would leave it all behind for a couple of hours, a day spent in truce. Later we started bringing my best friend Watson along, and at the piers we could sit or wander for hours, people watching, munching on fish and chips for lunch.It was where I learned to observe life, to enjoy the tide of strangers rushing past and just enjoy the experience of being surrounded by life. We would talk about life, plans for the future, little things that didn’t matter or things that did, and there we were closer than mother-daughter-friend.
Going back on this recent trip with Watson, it was like stepping into shoes I hadn’t worn in years, finding the grooves unfamiliar, but eventually comforting. Stepping away from the main centers to find the quiet benches by the docks, sipping on cool drinks in the setting sun while popping little sugary donuts into our mouth, it was the kind of bittersweet memory that sounds so cliche in the retelling but in the moment itself could not be more present and genuine , a digging into lovely old memories and little wounds.