The mountains are calling and I must go—John Muir
It was dark, rainy, foggy, and just plain miserable when our first day of driving ended in Altoona, PA. When we awoke in the clear morning and looked out, there it was: my first mountain.
As a small child growing up among the corn and farmlands in Michigan, I used to imagine that “in the mountains” was where God lived – up there someplace, where heaven was. I looked up when I talked to Him, and when I sang my Sunday school songs to Him, I imagined Him on the mountain top listening. Perhaps that was the beginning for me, of a life-long-love for the mountains.
Our homes in Poughkeepsie, Wappinger Falls, and Hopewell Junction, NY, weren’t really in the mountains. I found walking paths near the Hudson River along craggy cliffs, which this Michigan flat-lander assumed was a mountain. Our homes in Columbus, Raleigh, Lexington, Gaithersburg, and Atlanta were also not in the mountains. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. These years in my life I was surrounded by mountains of laundry, diapers, and groceries. And I loved those mountains, too.
As babies moved from booties to boots, we often passed through mountains to get to vacation destinations like Disneyworld or coastal beaches. I loved the mountain drives, the amazing vistas, and the fresh air. Living in Atlanta for 18 years, we were only 90 miles to the North Georgia Mountains and the Tennessee and North Carolina borders. Sometimes I drove 90 miles to have lunch, just to glimpse the mountains. They were calling me. We talked about living there someday.
That day came in 2000. The children were all adults and on their own, Dave retired, we sold our Atlanta home, built our mountain home, and transplanted ourselves once more.
There are cities and towns in the mountains, but we don’t live in one. We live in a village. We don’t have shopping malls. I used to have need of prom dresses, soccer cleats and school supplies. Now, my shopping needs are much simpler, and I tend to shop local. We do live in a resort area. Visitors are amazed at the beauty, the waterfalls that take them by surprise, bears raiding their garbage, the quiet serenity. They love the cool temperatures and clean air. Then they say, “But what do you DO here?” I smile and say, “Live.” And in my heart I say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” I love the mountains surrounding me, like a big green hug.