Welcome to Travel Thursday!
A few years back, maybe about 8 years ago, my best friend Bonnie and I took a trip to the mountains of North Carolina. Our trip plan included a visit with my sister Anne and family (they live out in the country).
This is the story of Doggett Mountain.
My brother and I were starting our Senior year of high school, a VERY large high school in a large city when my parents made the decision to move to North Carolina. Not only did they move us City Slicker kids to the middle of nowhere, we were stuck on the top of a mountain out in the country in the middle of no-where on a FARM.
The nearest town was down the curvy mountainside into the valley and the only thing there was the school. Another 20 or so miles into the mountains was a town that looked like it was from another century, seriously. But back to the school....Kindergarten through High school all in one long hallway. Did I mention that we had come from a VERY large high school population in the hundreds, multi-level building with a maze of hallways to a single hallway school house that housed K-12? The Senior class had 24 students, that included my brother and myself. It was shocking. I couldn't believe I was there in the middle of no-where.
Not only were we "out in the country" we found they spoke a totally different language which I could barely hear due to altitude and where alien words were spoken like 'maters, taters, pokes....what on earth was a poke?? When asking directions we were told "it's about as fer as ye kin spit times 10"; or "its a fer piece up thar road". WHAT??? We were seriously in culture shock and definitely "not in Kansas any more". The only saving grace was the beauty that surrounded us. We moved in the first week of October and the fall leaves were beginning to change, lighting the mountains on fire so brilliant and saturated with color it took my breath away. As my Granny would say "it's beauty is beyond words". If it weren't for that fact I'd have packed my bags and headed back to Florida.
We were from Florida (flat-landers) and there was much to learn from the country folks in "them thar hills". I learned what real neighbors were like (helpful and kind), that there were poor people that lived in one room shacks with lots of little children and those who had the least were the ones who gave the most. There was love for God, family, for each other and everyone was friendly and helpful. Lessons were not only in the single hallway of the schoolhouse but were learned from the land and farming it, the people who loved it. Even though I was a miserable teenager stuck there on that mountain, I did come to love and appreciate the people, the community and land.
I learned to love the mountains through the fall days, and into the winter when the fields were covered in frost and the mountain streams and waterfalls would freeze over and the way the sun would glisten off the ice. The clean smell of mountain air, the cold stillness at night, the soft sound of snow falling and the beauty of the forest being covered in a blanket of pure white. My heart longed to paint what I was seeing but I didn't have those skills, still I longed for paint and brush to capture the beauty of the seasons. And although I was quite unhappy being stuck on the top of a mountain, that is where my love of nature really began.....on top of Doggett Mountain.
I'd not been back to Doggett Mountain since leaving it in 1973 until my friend and I visited in the spring of 2007. Thirty-four years had passed, things had changed. The schoolhouse was still there and what remained were the fond memories of the people and the beauty of the land, the serenity of the mountain.
Oh and now I have my paints and brushes and I know just what to do with them!
Happily painting memories!